Jones braced for rough Australian ride

2016-03-27 13:04
Eddie Jones (AP)

Bagshot - Eddie Jones is expecting a hard time from his Australian compatriots when he returns in June aiming to lead England to more success.

But the tough-talking Tasmanian, who led the Wallabies for four years including a home World Cup final defeat by England before being ousted, is relishing the "intense" atmosphere of a tour down under and trying to build on England's recent Grand Slam success.

Jones knows all too well that while getting England to complete a Six Nations clean sweep in his first season in charge was a fairly difficult hill to climb, overcoming Australia in the first-ever three Test series there between the two nations will be considerably harder.

Asked if he expects to be targeted by the Australian media as a potential 'traitor', Jones replied: "I am a target here (England) so it is not going to make much difference!

"That's part of the game. If it does help take some of the pressure off the players then that can only be a good thing. It doesn't bother me.

"I think they will be respectful about what we have done regarding the Grand Slam. Well, as respectful as Australians can be!

"It definitely sets things up for a fantastic series on June 11 (the date of the first Test, in Brisbane), and that's very important."

Jones, who took over after hosts England were knocked out of last year's World Cup in the pool phase following a 33-13 defeat by Australia, added: "It's nice to go down there with what they will see as a resurgent England team.

"Australia had France out there two years ago and, to be quite honest, the three Tests were quite morbid. They weren't great. France didn't front up at all. They were pretty poor events and the crowds were poor.

"But they are going to see an England side full of energy, full of life, that wants to play positive rugby and is going to take it to the Aussies. It is going to be a tough and intense tour but it will also be an exciting one."

With his England players back at their respective clubs for the run-in to the English Premiership season, Jones' biggest worry is avoiding any sort of injury crisis between now and the end of May when the squad fly out.

Despite a first Grand Slam in 13 years, and installing a clinical winning attitude in a short time, Jones will not be happy unless he turns England into the global game's dominant force.

One man he both praises but warns is England captain Dylan Hartley, who must continue to prove his worth if he wishes to keep his place as the team's first-choice hooker.

Hartley must first complete his post-concussion protocol following the bang on the head that meant he missed the closing minutes of England's 31-21 Slam-clinching win against France in Paris on March 19 before he returns to club action with Northampton.

The New Zealand-born front row missed the World Cup completely after former coach Stuart Lancaster kicked him out of the squad for the latest in a long line of disciplinary offences, only for Jones to make him captain.

"As a player he has been adequate but he has got to improve and keep improving," said Jones.

"He's done very well as captain. It's not how well he speaks or what school he went to or can he write poetry. That has got nothing to do with leadership. It is all about the ability to influence people.

"When I took up the job, I spoke to people about Dylan and the captaincy and the general consensus was that he would be a positive choice.

"It was obvious England missed Dylan a lot during the World Cup.

"He's not the greatest player in the world but he plays with his heart on his sleeve and people follow him."

Read more on:    england  |  australia  |  eddie jones  |  rugby


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