Australia Series – Hartley Driven by History
Dylan Hartley and his England team arrive in Australia today targeting a first series win Down Under against the Wallabies which would boost their bid for a top-two world ranking.
England are currently the fourth best team and know that to avoid another ‘pool of death' at the 2019 World Cup, they have to move up the rankings by the time the draw is made in 12 months in Japan.
Australia, beaten in last year's World Cup final by New Zealand, are ranked No2.
Skipper Hartley said: "We want to be number one or two in the world. The history is we have never won a series out there and that is a big carrot for us. It is an opportunity.
"The win on Sunday against Wales keeps us at fourth in the rankings. Australia are number two and we want to get there."
Competition for starting places in Eddie Jones' starting XV for the first Test on June 11 in Brisbane will be intense, with Jack Clifford, the Harlequins forward, pressing hard for a start in the back row after his eye-catching 60-metre sprint for a try in the 27-13 victory against the Welsh. Clifford was picked at No8 but Saracens' Billy Vunipola will wear that jersey against the Wallabies for the series opener, leaving the Quins player to fight it out for one of the other two places in the back row with club-mate Chris Robshaw and Wasps captain James Haskell.
Northampton's Teimana Harrison is also in the frame after his debut against Wales. Clifford said: "It was a good opportunity [against Wales] and I just wanted to get the chance to play and I didn't really mind where. For me, it's just about getting out on the field and doing the best I can. "Eddie gave me an opportunity in the games and I just tried to take it.
We've only ever won three times in 17 Tests down there, so it's a real opportunity to test ourselves against a really good team. "We wanted to play with high intensity against Wales and we've been really testing ourselves in training. It is how we prepared for the last couple of weeks.
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