Australia v England - five things we learnt

2016-06-26 12:45
Dylan Hartley (Getty Images)

Sydney - England beat Australia on Saturday to claim a first 3-0 series win in Australia. We t look at five things we learnt from the tour:

England aim for the top

England's historic 3-0 Test series triumph in Australia has given coach Eddie Jones further momentum for his push for his side to become world rugby's top-ranked team after supplanting the Wallabies as number two in the rankings. Jones says England must become more consistent if they are to challenge world champions New Zealand and launch a serious assault for the Webb Ellis trophy at the 2019 World Cup in Japan. Saturday saw England's ninth consecutive Test win under Jones as their momentum grows.

Farrell, Itoje world class?

England, growing in confidence under Jones, may have a couple of world-class players in their midst. Openside-flanker James Haskell, 31, and 30-year-old Chris Robshaw had outstanding series, but 21-year-old lock Maro Itoje continued his meteoric rise with his all-action work in the set-pieces and at the breakdown. Owen Farrell had critics talking of his world-class status after kicking England to victory with 24 points in the final Test to finish with 66 for the series.

Jones outpoints Cheika in coach battle

Right from the outset with his Bodyline chatter, Jones was always a step ahead of his former Randwick clubmate Michael Cheika in the mind games and tactical battle. Jones probed for weaknesses in the Wallabies, identified them and then drew up the game plan to execute them with chilling efficiency. A series drubbing is an emphatic indicator that Jones won the battle of the coaches, coming just eight months after Cheika guided the Wallabies to the World Cup final eliminating hosts England along the way.

Cheika's attacking strategy under scrutiny

Cheika blamed Australia's high error rate at crucial moments for stifling their chances of beating England. Cheika's high-risk attacking rugby, effective at last year's World Cup, broke down through inaccuracy and ill-discipline to give England the whip hand in their three encounters. Nonetheless Cheika says the Wallabies will press on with their running style. "We are playing a lot of attacking rugby and we don't want to stop doing that... there is always a risk that if you're not accurate you get hit a lot on the counter," he says.

Pocock vital for Wallabies success

David Pocock's absence over the last two Tests with a fractured eye socket was a significant blow for the Wallabies. His peerless ball-poaching skills at the breakdown were sorely missed and the stats back up the importance of the back-rower to his team's fortunes. Since the start of Pocock's Test career in November 2008, the Wallabies have won around 58 percent of all their games. Without Pocock over that period, that falls to about 52 percent and with him it rises to 63 percent. Australia are effectively 20 percent less likely to win if Pocock is not on the field.

Read more on:    england  |  australia  |  rugby


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