Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has turned to the Brumbies forwards to set the tone in the opening Test of the England series.
Twelve ACT players were selected in the 23 for Saturday night's clash at Optus Stadium, including seven in the starting XV.
A total of eight Brumbies forwards are in the team and Rennie said it's no secret the pack has matched it with New Zealand's best in the recent Super Rugby Pacific.
Now the challenge is to take down a physical England pack looking to bully their opponents and set the tone for the series.
"We still want to play, but there's no doubt [the forwards] will be a focus for them," Rennie said. "They've got a very big pack and they've brought a fair bit of experience.
"The lineout, the maul, scrum are big aspects of our game. It's an area we feel if we can overpower them, it gives us an opportunity to get our game going and put a bit of heat on them at the right end of the field.
"There's no doubt at the international level, if you haven't got a group of men functioning up front, you're not going to win."
Veteran Cadeyrn Neville leads the Brumbies contingent, the 33-year-old to make a long-awaited Wallabies debut on Saturday.
Joining him in the starting side are prop Allan Alaalatoa, lock partner Darcy Swain and Rob Valetini.
Brumbies halfback Nic White will link up with Quade Cooper in the halves, while Len Ikitau makes his return from suspension at outside centre, with Tom Banks named at fullback ahead of emerging talent Jordan Petaia, who will start on the bench.
Rennie expects the side to build throughout the three-game series, however value was placed on club combinations when selecting Saturday's team.
"We had two weeks to prepare, we haven't had these boys since November last year," he said. "Certainly continuity helps. There's no doubt Dan and that continuity and connection he was with the Brumbies boys helps.
"We're still growing our game, that will continue. We've had two weeks together, while there's more we wouldn't mind getting into the boys, we don't want them getting there on Saturday and their heads are spinning.
"We've got a fair bit to work on, but we've kept it reasonably simple so we can put that out and implement.
"We're trying to build a game and have an understanding that when we play different opponents in different conditions, you've got to be able to play different sort of tactics. Game awareness has been a big focus for us and will continue to be."
Like former Brumbies coach, and now Wallabies assistant, Dan McKellar, Rennie will look to his substitutes to make an impact throughout the second half.
That is where Australian fans are set to see an all-ACT front row injected into the game, Scott Sio, James Slipper and Folau Fainga'a named on the bench. With Taniela Tupou still battling a calf injury, Slipper will play tight-head prop. The Tongan Thor is likely to return next week.
Pete Samu and Noah Lolesio round out the Brumbies platoon, the latter stepping up as James O'Connor continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.
The bench marks a stark contrast to that of previous years, with plenty of depth and experience set to ensure the Wallabies finish the better of the two teams.
It's a role Sio is relishing, the prop confident the reserves will make an impact late in the contest.
"As we've seen in rugby over the years, the last 20 minutes is crucial," Sio said. "The depth of your squad and how well your finishers perform in the back end of the game is big for everyone these days.
"That's the trend we've seen in international footy. We're focused on how can we keep adding value and how can we keep up the energy and keep it flowing for our team when we come on.
"It's as simple as making sure we nail our role, do our job and bring good energy."
1. Angus Bell (16 Tests)
2. David Porecki*
3. Allan Alaalatoa (53 Tests)
4. Darcy Swain (10 Tests)
5. Cadeyrn Neville*
6. Rob Leota (6 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (118 Tests)
8. Rob Valetini (18 Tests)
9. Nic White (47 Tests)
10. Quade Cooper (75 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (42 Tests)
12. Samu Kerevi (38 Tests)
13. Len Ikitau (13 Tests)
14. Andrew Kellaway (13 Tests)
15. Tom Banks (19 Tests)
16. Folau Fainga'a (25 Tests)
17. Scott Sio (69 Tests)
18. James Slipper (114 Tests)
19. Matt Philip (20 Tests)
20. Pete Samu (19 Tests)
21. Jake Gordon (10 Tests)
22. Noah Lolesio (9 Tests)
23. Jordan Petaia (16 Tests)
Sports reporter at the Canberra Times
Sports reporter at the Canberra Times
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