Eddie Jones has labelled Australia as “the best team in the world at the moment,” ahead of a fascinating Australia v England contest at Twickenham on Saturday.
Despite stumbling to a 21-8 victory over Argentina last week, the England head coach knows exactly what awaits his England players. Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday’s clash, Jones was under no illusions of the size of the task ahead.
“They’re the form team. They beat New Zealand [with] two draws against South Africa. They’ve beaten Argentina and beat a quite impressive Wales side at the weekend.
“There’s nothing better than an Australia v England contest” said Jones. “We’re anticipating that physical juggernaut type of game.”
“We know Australia will bring their best game.”
Farrell and May to Lead England Charge
The return of both Owen Farrell and Jonny May will give England an attacking edge not quite up to scratch last week.
Owen Farrell has been recalled to @EnglandRugby's XV for Saturday's autumn Test against @qantaswallabies but Maro Itoje will start on the bench. More here: https://t.co/J3dzX3X00H #SSN pic.twitter.com/aEDvNrfGc2
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 16, 2017
Farrell will slot into the inside centre spot, while May will take-up position on the wing. Both in roles, of whom Jones knows will be key to England’s charge.
“[Farrell’s] a very experienced international. He’s a good defender and a good communicator in attack. Nominated for World Player of the Year is testament to his ability. Owen’s a great competitor and that’s one of the things we have to do against Australia.
“Compete at every ball, at every contest compete really hard. There’s no one better at that than Owen.”
“We’ll need Jonny to finish on the wing. We’re glad to have him back in the team this week. He’s strong and he’s fast. He’ll be the fastest winger on the field – any opportunity he gets he’ll turn them into points for us.”
Jones was glowing about his options, especially with Anthony Watson also in the backline.
An Australia win against England on Saturday; and Michael Cheika’s men will move above into second place in the world rankings. That fact makes England v Australia a crucial fixture.
Despite the ‘war of words’ between Jones and Australia head coach Cheika, there’s an underlying admiration of how Australia’s fortunes have turned.
“Last time I spoke, I praised Michael’s effort. He’s rebuilt the team twice – firstly before the World Cup, and now after the World Cup. He’s done a great job.
“They’ve got back into international rugby and got on the front foot being immensely physical. They’ve got a big forward pack, big backs. They’re backs are as big as their forwards.
“We’ve got to get stuck into them early.”
Play Good Rugby, and Beat Australia
Jones is unbeaten against Australia as England head coach. Having whitewashed his compatriots in the three test series in 2016, England dominated in the fixture at the same stage but last year. Four straight wins is a position Jones wishes to continue.
Building on the Argentina victory last week; albeit in frustrating fashion, will be at the back of Jones’ mind.
“Our job tomorrow is to play good English rugby and to beat Australia.”
Jones made his point to media at the Captains run Friday, with a simple strategy. “We want to play them at their best and we’ll see how we go. It should be a ripper of a game.”