Second Test baby clash avoided for Tupou, Swain to front judiciary for headbutt

Picking up the pieces after a chaotic opening Test victory in Perth, the Wallabies have avoided another potential drama with of the early arrival of Taniela Tupou’s first child.

Australia will field a new-look starting team in Brisbane for the second Test after Quade Cooper (calf), Tom Banks (broken arm) and Allan Ala’alatoa (concussion) all suffered injuries, and Darcy Swain facing a suspension after being sent off for a headbutt.

Ala’alatoa will likely miss the Test after failing a HIA, under recently introduced World Rugby guidelines that force any player that leaves a game with “obvious concussion symptoms” to sit out 12 days.

Rennie said Tupou was due back from a calf injury this week and would be available for selection, just in time to help restock a depleted tight-head prop stable.

A potential clash with the due date of his first child – on Saturday – was also dodged when Tupou’s partner gave birth to a baby boy early, last Friday. Tupou didn’t travel to Perth and was in Brisbane. The giant prop said earlier this year he was happy to miss the Test match if it clashed with his son’s birth.

Swain will front a judicial hearing on Tuesday night but the Wallabies were studying footage on Sunday to see if there was an avenue to get him off, or at least reduce a six-week ban by as much as possible. Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said there had been “provocation” from English lock Jonny Hill throughout the game but, in truth, Swain’s best hope for acquittal or leniency is showing his first point of contact was anywhere but Hill’s head.

Taniela Tupou on the break against France in Brisbane in 2021.Credit:Getty

Cooper will undergo scans in Brisbane on Monday to determine if he is any hope to play in the second Test, but Banks’ career in Australia is over after he underwent surgery on his right elbow, which he fractured and dislocated in a sickening fall. The Japan-bound fullback will be out for four months.

Jed Holloway is not expected to be fit for the second Test but even with the likely loss of Swain, the Wallabies are not looking to call in any reinforcements in the second row. Nick Frost and Ned Hanigan are also in the squad.

England denied deliberately baiting Swain into losing his temper, after the Brumby headbutted rival lock Jonny Hill as a reaction to having his hair pulled by Hill at a maul.

Hill, who was yellow-carded for the hair pull, had earlier appeared to strike Swain in the face near a ruck, but he escaped without punishment. World Rugby’s citing commissioner was looking at that incident on Sunday.

Asked if he felt like Swain had fallen into a trap set by England, Rennie said: “I am not sure if it was a team plan but certainly there was provocation there. Not just in that situation but earlier in the game.”

“Obviously we will have a decent look at the footage and work out how we are going to appeal that. If it’s a head butt, it is clearly a red card,” Rennie continued.

“I am not sure his intent was to headbutt him. But we will look at the footage and get clarity on whether we think there is an avenue to challenge.”

England coach Eddie Jones and captain Courtney Lawes denied Hill’s behaviour was designed to draw a hot-headed response from Swain.

“Not to my knowledge. It was just one of those things mate where two bulls go at each other and they get a bit carried away,” Jones said.

“That’s what happened. I thought it was a good-natured game for Australia and England game, it was played in a good spirit.”

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