The Wallabies will put their Rugby World Cup campaign on the line when they take on England in the first of four quarter-finals, which will cut the remaining field in half.
Eddie Jones insists opting for the promise of winger Marland Yarde over the finishing of Chris Ashton for England’s three-Test tour of Australia next month was a simple decision.
Ashton has scored 10 tries in eight matches since completing a 10-week ban for making contact with the eye area of Ulster’s Luke Marshall, a sanction that forced him to miss the grand slam triumph.
Available once more, former rugby league star Ashton now finds himself overlooked with Jones preferring the raw power he recalls seeing in Yarde’s marauding, try-scoring display against New Zealand in Dunedin two years ago.
“It wasn’t a tough call to make, it was an easy call to make. Ashton has done well, but there are parts of his game that he needs to work on,” Jones said.
“Chris Ashton has finished at club level and done very well, while Marland has got a lot of growth in him.
“He’s a young player, probably maybe got his first cap too early, maybe didn’t realise how important it was to work hard. He is now working hard on his game and he is the sort of wing we want.
“I always go back to the New Zealand game that England nearly won in 2014 when Marland scored that try when he ran over the top of Richie McCaw.”
The contrasting fortunes of England’s first and second choice fullbacks is unlikely to disrupt the pecking order with Jones still favouring Mike Brown over Alex Goode.
Young props Kyle Sinckler and Ellis Genge are among four uncapped players bound for Australia with Jones believing their challenging backgrounds could drive them to succeed.
“Genge is a bit like Sinckler, both of them had difficult backgrounds and now they have a fantastic opportunity to make their mark in the world through rugby,” Jones said.
“Players like that are desperate. There is a company I did a little bit with, a blue chip company.
“The CEO said that when he recruits people, the first thing he does is look for the people from a broken family because they are desperate to succeed and it’s the same in sport.”