England boss Eddie Jones urges Wallabies to bring their ‘absolute best’ after winning start
The Red Rose kick off their Autumn campaign with victory over Argentina, while the Wallabies edge Wales
England coach Eddie Jones said he hoped his native Australia would bring their “absolute best game” when the two sides meet at Twickenham on November 18.
Jones, the Wallabies’ boss when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England, has overseen four successive Red Rose victories against an Australia side coached by Michael Cheika – his former teammate at Sydney club Randwick.
These include a 3-0 series victory in Australia and a 37-21 success at Twickenham last year. The last time Australia beat England was when they knocked the tournament hosts out of the 2015 World Cup with a comprehensive 33-13 win at Twickenham – a result that led the Rugby Football Union to sack Stuart Lancaster and replace him as coach with Jones.
Both sides will come into their latest encounter on the back of victories. England launched their November campaign with an error-strewn 21-8 win over Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday, while Australia defeated Wales 29-21 in Cardiff a few hours later.
Under Jones, England have lost just once – when Ireland denied them a second successive Six Nations grand slam in Dublin in March – and they are now second to New Zealand in the international rankings.
But if England are to dethrone title-holders New Zealand at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, Jones believes it’s vital they face plenty of stern challenges between now and then.
“We are hoping Australia bring their absolute best game,” Jones said. “These games are about seeing where we are at. We’ve got a very clear vision of how we want to play against Australia. It should be fun.”
England’s latest win over their 2019 World Cup pool opponents saw No 8 Nathan Hughes score his first test try and replacement back Semesa Rokoduguni cross in the second half, with their other 11 points coming via George Ford’s boot.
Fly half Ford was given kicking duties after Jones rested regular goal kicker Owen Farrell, as well as lock Maro Itoje, following their efforts in helping the British and Irish Lions to a 1-1 series draw in New Zealand.
Poor passes saw England squander several promising moves against Argentina and, at one stage, television cameras caught former Japan coach Jones angrily slamming a notebook on his desk.
“I don’t see there’s any reason why I shouldn’t be frustrated,” Jones said. “We want to play good rugby.
“Our fluency and our understanding wasn’t there, which is understandable.”
This was England’s fourth straight victory against Argentina under Jones and he insisted it would be wrong to play down such an achievement.
“On 78 minutes we were 21-3 up against a team that at the 60 minute mark was leading the All Blacks,” he said. “So you can’t underestimate them. People say they are not a good team but they are a good team.”
Farrell is set to return at inside centre against the Wallabies in place of Henry Slade, who showed glimpses of his talent on Saturday alongside Ford and Jonathan Joseph.
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“It’s that understanding between your 10-12-13,” said Jones of England’s midfield. “It wasn’t quite there today. That understanding comes from playing together, you need time together, so we’ll be so much better next week.”
England lost Mike Brown in the 22nd minute when the full back was replaced after landing on his head following an aerial challenge with Pumas counterpart Joaquin Tuculet, who received a yellow card as a result.
“We lose a player for the whole game, they lose a player for 10 minutes,” said Jones when asked about the incident.
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The Pumas, who scored a late try through replacement fly half Nicolas Sanchez, have now lost 20 out of 27 tests since reaching the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup.
“It was a big battle in the forwards,” said Daniel Hourcade, the Argentina coach. “There were a few opportunities for both sides but England were able to take advantage.”