Australia series No. 10 – Tough Guys must step up to save Eddie Jones

Australia series No. 10 – Tough Guys must step up to save Eddie Jones

Australia series No. 10 – Tough Guys must step up to save Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones 's honeymoon period with England could come to an abrupt end against Australia tomorrow .

That is the danger posed by the world's No2 team and it will need the best England performance under Jones's unbeaten command to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

A seventh successive victory is the only way Jones can avoid outrageous mickey-taking from his compatriots, along with an inevitable backlash from his newly adopted home. Having made it clear he wants to batter Australia into submission by discarding George Ford and Jack Nowell, this has become a defining moment in the development of England under their head coach, who took charge in December.

Jones has travelled back in time for a reference point for his players that encapsulates what he wants from this Test in Brisbane and chose the infamous Bodyline cricket series of 1932. The Australian could do worse than mention Eddie Paynter in his final address to his troops before they go over the top. Paynter hit a six to win the Fourth Test in Brisbane on that tour, having spent much of the match in hospital due to tonsillitis. What relevance Bodyline has is highly debatable and why Wallaby coach Michael Cheika, who counts Jones among his good friends in the sport, said: "I understand the analogy but I am not sure what it means." He then suggested it may be the precursor to an overtly aggressive approach from England — rugby's version of repeated leg-side fast bowling designed to intimidate and injure.

The main problem Jones faces trying to build another England pack who can bully the opposition like the classes of 1991 or 2003 is that it can lead you down a one-way alley. Produce a team who are all about confrontation and ‘in your face' aggression and your horizons become limited. In Owen Farrell and Mike Brown, Jones has two players who revel in the niggle and physicality of the sport, however, they can also become distracted, all too eager for the next big collision instead of recognising when moving the ball is the best option.

Brown has yet to show the kind of link work with his wings that makes Alex Goode such a threat to his full-back role while Farrell will have the superb Wallaby back row of Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy and David Pocock trying to rough him up at every opportunity. Farrell's goal kicking is world class and he possesses the ability to launch hanging kicks that allow the chasers to legally pummel the catcher.

The Sarries No10 is chosen ahead of George Ford, the attacking fulcrum during the Grand Slam. The challenge for Farrell is to find that balance between playing the hard man while delivering the flat, perfectly timed passes that can put men like Jonathan Joseph into space.

The England pack is built around the Sarries quartet of Mako Vunipola, George Kruis, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola. Their skills are supplemented by captain Dylan Hartley, tight head Dan Cole, along with flankers Chris Robshaw and James Haskell.

There is plenty of cavalry on the bench to keep England running strongly, led by Joe Launchbury. But one concern for Jones must be that he is starting with only two recognised line-out jumpers in Itoje and Kruis. Yes, Robshaw can do a job as a front jumping option, to be used sparingly. It means Wallaby locks — 6ft 10in Rory Arnold and Rob Simmons — can concentrate on the two Sarries jumpers who have dealt with all-comers this season.

However, like the scrum battle, the line-out will feature tactics England are not used to dealing with. The Wallabies are masters at annoying, frustrating and generally messing up the opposition's perceived areas of strength and it will take a Herculean effort from Cole and Vunipola to give Hartley the chance to strike cleanly on England's put-in while the line-out lifters will be targeted throughout. Tomorrow will be about England varying their line-out, cutting the numbers to negate Wallaby disruption tactics and generating quick ball so that Luther Burrell can test the hosts' new midfield combination. If Burrell succeeds then England will be on the front foot — if he fails then Brisbane will be an uncomfortable place for Jones the Pom.

– Entry was posted on June 11th, 2016 by James Haskell

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