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Timani returns to provide needed steel in Wallabies' pack

Impact needed ... second-rower Sitaleki Timani.

Impact needed ... second-rower Sitaleki Timani. Photo: Getty Images

LONDON: Returning lock Sitaleki Timani likes to make his presence felt on the field from the kick-off.

While an outside back might crave that first touch to settle the nerves, Timani needs to bowl over his first opponent.

''If they kick it off to my side I just want to be the first one to tackle that [receiving] guy or the first one to get there,'' he said, adding that it was his responsibility to set the intensity level early.

''If you are big you've got to make the difference, you've got to stand up and try to get everyone to follow you or start something.''

After sitting out the first Test on the Wallabies' spring tour, Timani was declared fit to play England and appears to be the selectors' first choice to partner captain Nathan Sharpe in the second row.

Prop Ben Alexander appears to be marked to take over at tight-head from Sekope Kepu, while the insertion of Berrick Barnes at fullback, in place of Mike Harris, could be the only other change coach Robbie Deans makes to the starting line-up that played against France.

It was uncertain what Deans was planning for Digby Ioane. He ran in opposition for much of Tuesday's training session but was later swapped with Nick Cummins.

There was also uncertainty about Rob Simmons, who was due to face a lifting-tackle charge on Wednesday afternoon.

Timani's return is much needed. His imposing physicality is an element the Wallabies and fans have come to rely on. There is something reassuring about watching his two-metre, 120-kilogram frame trundle down the field, ball in hand, with defenders clinging to his jersey.

But Timani, 26, knows he needs more than brawn to continue his rise through the Wallabies' playing ranks, especially at a time coaches are contemplating life after Sharpe.

''[You need] skills as well as brains to play,'' he said. ''I think I'm getting better and better but every game I try to learn something and go back and watch the game, and find what I need to bring in for the next game.''

While he did not have a hand in the disastrous France result, Timani will be a crucial part of the effort to resurrect the spring tour this weekend. On Tuesday the squad watched England's Test defeat of Fiji. ''They are coming pretty hard in the breakdown, every opportunity they come in pretty hard at it and all the forwards are really big and strong as well,'' Timani said.

''A big thing for me is to be in the scrum and try to get our ball and try to make a difference in the scrum. Probably defence as well, try to talk up the boys to get in position and make the tackle.''

After the Wallabies' loss in Paris, many players mentioned the attitudinal shift the side needed to make against England. ''We know what we want and we've got to do it,'' he said. ''We have talked about it enough, we just need to do it in the game. We need to perform and bring that mental toughness into the game and try to do whatever it takes to win.''

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Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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