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England's win makes Aussie derby intensity all the more significant

Matt Toomua had the look of a bloodied-eyed boozer.

Stephen Moore and Matt Hodgson did their best impression of a UFC weigh-in.

The opening Australian derbies of 2016 haven't been short on push and shove, and it's a safe bet that Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is absolutely loving it. That certainly looked to be the case at GIO Stadium a couple of Fridays ago anyway.

Forget thoughts of a World Cup hangover; the feeling among Australia's five Super Rugby sides suggests Cheika has put them all on notice ahead of this year's visit from England.

Australian derbies often tend to lack some of the attacking brilliance of their New Zealand equivalents - many can be excruciatingly dour - but they are seldom short on feeling. And this year they have taken on added physicality and intensity, which is a promising development following last year's Rugby World Cup final.

For after meeting the physical demands of Pool matches with England and Wales, and then winning rugged contests with Scotland and Argentina, the Wallabies were blown off the paddock in the opening 20 minutes in the final against the All Blacks.

Certainly an injury Kane Douglas and Matt Giteau's concussion didn't help things; but to anyone watching on at Twickenham on that unseasonably warm London afternoon, it was obvious the All Blacks were asserting themselves physically.

The world champions' greater physical presence must surely have come up in Cheika's post-tournament review, and one he likely stressed in pre-season visits to each of the five Aussie franchises and post-derby "get togethers" which helped mould the squad last year.

There has certainly been little love lost in Brumbies-Waratahs encounters in recent years but the round-two encounter this season had a little extra edge.

For not only did the two sides almost come to blows midway through the second half - leaving Toomua more than just a little dishevelled - but the Brumbies also hammered Kurtley Beale and walked over the Waratahs at scrum time.

In Perth on Friday night, Moore may have been a tad fortunate to get away with an armless tackle on Heath Tessman; but it set the tone for a fiery first half in which referee Andrew Lees eventually had to separate the Wallabies skipper and his Force counterpart, Hodgson.

David Pocock later suffered a broken nose; these are promising signs.

It's still roughly three months before Eddie Jones and England arrive Down Under for three Tests.

The World Cup flops will have the chance to complete a rapid about-face - of sorts - when they head to Paris next weekend in pursuit of a first Grand Slam in 13 years.

Achieve that feat and they will arrive on Australian shores with momentum - albeit after returning to domestic and European club action - and with a renewed belief in the power game that was largely abandoned under former coach Stuart Lancaster.

The Wallabies look like facing the England of old, with the added tactical nous of Australian Jones.

It makes the early intensity of the Aussie derbies just that little bit more significant.

As for the niggle? Well a little bit of push-and-shove never goes astray either.