Tuesday 7th June 2016
Eddie Jones admits that the outcome of the first test against Australia this Saturday in Brisbane will be crucial in determining whether England can claim a series victory over Australia.
The Grand Slam champions' summer tour is the first time the rivals have met over three games and in 17 previous meetings Down Under, the Wallabies have triumphed in all but three and never lost the fixture in four clashes at Suncorp Stadium.
"We have to win the first one - that's what the series is about, the first Test," Jones said. There are two Tests to go after that, but the first is going to set up one side to win the series and you want to be the side that wins the series. We want to win the first Test and if we do that we put ourselves in positions to do all sorts of things and that's our target. We don't have any excuses. We've come here to put our best foot forward and if we're good enough we're going to win. If it's not good enough we'll go back home and we'll learn."
Jones has pledged to adopt a 'Bodyline' approach to facing the World Cup finalists in reference to the bowling tactics used by Douglas Jardine's Ashes winners of 1932-33. The Australian wants his tourists to play with the same level of aggression in the belief that only performances of furious intensity will be enough to secure a series victory that would identify England as a genuine force in the game.
"The players realise they have got to do something different. To create history - and that's what we are trying to do - we have to do something different," Jones said. "Christopher Columbus didn't discover America by swimming in his own back yard. He had to get in a boat and leave and not see anything. That's exactly what we have to do. We are in a position where we have to do something no other side has done and to do that we have to do things differently."
On two occasions Jones endured defeat on Australian soil at English hands when acting as Wallabies coach, both of them in 2003 when Martin Johnson's World Cup winners crushed all before them.
"When you're coaching Australia and playing England, England is the mother country", Jones said. "That's particularly the view of my generation, who were brought up as part of the commonwealth. England were always seen as the big brother and you wanted to beat them. When you play Test rugby you want to beat everyone."
Australia's fortunes have been revived by their head coach Michael Cheika, who in less than 12 months transformed a dysfunctional and under-performing team into World Cup finalists.
"All I want to do is produce a side that wins. Australia are the second best team in the world and they have that ability to sniff out a weakness in your defence," Jones said. "Bernard Foley did it twice to England during the World Cup and Israel Folau is one of the most gifted runners in the world. David Pocock and Michael Hooper are offensively the best back rows in the game and are able to turn your ball over and create offensive opportunities. Pocock in particular is very skilled at the breakdown and is probably one of the best in the world at that. If we carry well and clean out well then we might put him out of the game and that's what we're intending to do."