England whitewash a triumph of unity and consistency

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    From the outset of their tour, and even before they’d arrived, Eddie Jones made no secret that he wanted to leave Australian shores with the Cook Cup under his arm.

    The English Rose on his chest has been as prominent on this tour as has the smile on his face, and with the cup retained, it’s hard to know which is shining more.

    And why wouldn’t be happy with what his team has achieved?

    Jones arrived with the stated intention of wanting to take his side to no.1 in the world, and on current form, you’d have to think they’re the team most likely to knock the All Blacks from their long-held and comfortable perch.

    And it’s clear that everything about this England team is geared toward this goal.

    Another Rugby World Cup may come before they achieve their goal, and it will require its own focus; in the meantime, everything England has done and is doing under Eddie Jones is simply a rung on the ladder to the top.

    Winning three Tests in Australia carried a Rugby World Cup theme with it – Jones rightly said to win a World Cup you need to win three tough games on consecutive weekends – but it also saw England rein in New Zealand’s lead atop the rankings somewhat. It really it is a shame this current England side will have to wait at least 16 months to tackle the All Blacks.

    Winning the first Test was the key result. England had never won in Brisbane, and they did it. They’d never won a series on Australian soil before, and they did that too. And they’d never claimed a series clean sweep before – they’d never won a three-Test series, in fact. All boxes ticked, and with it, Australia’s first clean sweep defeat in my lifetime.

    It became clear watching Jones’ squad in action the demons of the Rugby World Cup ousting are long gone, and in their place is a determination to be the best they can be. And you can hear the determination whenever the England players speak now.

    Pre-match on Saturday night, I spoke with injured backrower James Haskell for ABC Grandstand.

    “It was difficult for us after the World Cup, because a lot of people and especially the media were talking about pride in jerseys, but from my experience, whenever you’ve been involved in an England squad, it’s the greatest thing you can do as a player, to play for your national side, and no-one’s ever taken that shirt for granted,” he explained.

    “I think with Eddie, and his coaching staff, and Dylan [Hartley] as Captain, there’s a real renewed sense of competition within this squad and a desire to win things.

    “Some of us in this squad are lucky enough to have a few caps but we haven’t really won what we wanted to win. Under Eddie we’ve started well, but it’s a long, long way to go and we’re not getting carried away. And if old blokes like me can keep plugging away, then we will do.”

    Haskell’s performance in this series has been phenomenal, for a player who we have seen a bit of throughout his career, which included a solid but unspectacular stint in Super Rugby with the Highlanders. Haskell admitted that he’s been a sponge when it comes to learning from Wasps teammate George Smith, and Jones was smart enough to bring Smith into the England camp and continue that backrow tutelage. And where even just last year, Haskell might have just played out his days winning England caps here and there, now he doesn’t want to give it up.

    “I’m devastated not to be playing,” Haskell said of missing the final game on tour. “Teimana Harrison has been outstanding for Northampton… but from a personal point of view, you always want that shirt. It could well be the last time I play for England, so I’ve got to go away and work even harder in rehab because I want to be involved in this England team for a lot longer.”

    Eighty minutes later, former skipper Chris Robshaw – who was similarly brilliant through the series – echoed the same sentiments.

    “Of course it starts at the top, and goes all the way through the coaches and the players, but more importantly, the players have bought into it,” Robshaw said.

    “That’s what you want from a team; you want guys going out there and giving it their all, working as hard as possible, getting up off the floor doing it again and again. And I think you’ve seen that in our performances this year.”

    When established players like Haskell and Robshaw – with nearly 120 Tests between them – are speaking in those terms, the degree of the turnaround is evident.

    Interestingly, the self-congratulations didn’t last long, with Jones expressing annoyance from within the team that they’d shelled five tries to a side that never looked like breaking through them only seven days earlier. This kind of grounding is what will keep the English standards high.

    But so will the competition for places, and the difficulty with which selection is gained. In naming his side the day after the Wallabies announced another wave of changes for the Third Test, Jones wryly opined, “You have to work extremely hard to earn an England cap so there was no temptation to make changes for the sake of change.”

    Jones made three changes from Brisbane to Melbourne, and only one more – Harrison in for Haskell – in Sydney. 27 players in all. Australia used 33 players, with five changes for Melbourne, and another five for Sydney.

    And where Michael Cheika trimmed a 39-plus-some initial squad down to 33-plus-some-including-guys-not-in-the-orginal-39, Jones enjoyed consistency throughout. Part of that comes with being on tour, of course, but it also speaks for the evident uncertainty around what Cheika sees as his preferred side. News that the French cavalry will be arriving in August only further underlines this.

    Jones has united England rugby when they were standing on shaky ground, and has completed a remarkable turnaround with largely the same playing group. He’s united the playing group, furthermore, and has them on a track in which they firmly believe they can beat anyone.

    Right now, having sat so close to the final act of this remarkable series performance, it’s very hard to argue.

    And so, fittingly, Jones gets the last word. Smiling throughout the post-match presser, Jones finished his official duties with a classic ‘Eddie’ quip.

    “I’ll always be grateful for what Australia has done for me in rugby, but it was certainly nice to beat them 3-0.”

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (173)

    • Roar Guru

      June 28th 2016 @ 5:35am
      Shop said | June 28th 2016 @ 5:35am | ! Report

      Great summary Brett and it is good to see an article dedicated to what the English achieved on this tour. It is of course easy to complain about all the woes of the Wallabies but they definitely came up against a very motivated side.

      I couldn’t help but think back to Brisbane when the Poms sent a second rate team out to get thrashed and some poor blokes having to do push ups every score. Things have come a long way since then.

      • June 28th 2016 @ 7:45pm
        Billy G said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

        Great article Brett. You can see how vision, strategy, execution, alignment of purpose and commitment can shape an outcome. The impressive part of this was Jones’ abilty to maintain centre stage in the media whilst the players maintained a singular focus on their goal. Brilliant. It is a far far different team to the 2011 RWC bunch that navigated their way around NZ in a party mood with night out stories dominating the newspaper articles. A cultural divide! Intetested too in the half time rantings and ravings of Chieka vs the calm demeanor of Jones. Confidence vs Loss of Control? Self assuredness vs panic? Culture vs Culture? Clarity vs Confusion?

    • June 28th 2016 @ 5:35am
      maxxlord said | June 28th 2016 @ 5:35am | ! Report

      Firstly, Cheika was out-selected. Jones knew exactly who his best were in each position. England were unified and cohesive because there were no huge selection issues. Cheika hadn’t a clue apart from Folau, and Cheika has been with his team far longer than Jones. Cheika was busy experimenting with already failed experiments (Skelton, Palu, Phipps, Mumm, Carter) while Jones was winning the series. Secondly Jones brilliantly targeted the easy opportunities created by Cheika’s poor selection Jones exposed Phipps’ slow play and terrible passing and Foley’s poor kicking out of hand. Results? Wallaby runners were smashed behind the advantage line courtesy of Phipps hospital passes AND every kicking exchange yielded a net gain in territory to England via Foley. Frisby is the form aussie scrumhalf in SupeRugby and was an overwhelmingly obvious pick for this team. Why then does Cheika refuse to play him when Phipps is having his third terrible game in a row against the same opposition? Why on earth did Cheika waste Horwill and Houston’s time? How much blame should Larkham shoulder for allowing Phipps into his backline?

      • Roar Guru

        June 28th 2016 @ 5:48am
        Shop said | June 28th 2016 @ 5:48am | ! Report

        I think you’ve missed the point of article maxxlord. It is about England turning around their disastrous RWC effort to produce some very smart rugby. Their are plenty of other articles on the site where you can bag Chieka.

        • June 28th 2016 @ 1:22pm
          Jokerman said | June 28th 2016 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

          Funny, in every game with 20 to go Australia were in the position to win. But there was a lack of precision in the end. Moore was off and the wise decisions needed at the end were absent. England were good, Australia scattered. All Blacks at home would comfortably beat the English.

          Australia lack some quality world beaters in a few positions. Your 9, 10, 12, 11, 14 are all journey men.

          Dean’s is a better coach than Cheiker. Unless a miricle happens I really don’t see Cheiker beating the All Blacks ever again. He’s even scared to say their name. Boyish psychology that plays into the All Blacks hands; like denying the haka.

          • June 28th 2016 @ 4:43pm
            Perthstayer said | June 28th 2016 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

            Jokerman – Woodward challenged his team to be in a position to win a game with 20 minutes to go. The best teams turn the screw in that period. Fitness and self belief – England had more of the former than WBs expected and EJ instilled the latter.

            • June 28th 2016 @ 5:14pm
              CUW said | June 28th 2016 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

              to be fair to auzzy and the article concerned, IMO , the match was lost due to 2 crucial errors from Phipps (forgetting his irregular passing).

              the pass to Folau’s knees , that let in a try to England and the penalty he conceeded at the end ( funnily Cane did the samething against Wlaes and got carded 🙂 )

              also one shud not forget the bizzare decision made by Owens regarding the ball that hit the wire. as i said in another psot, although he said there was no advantage to either team , there was advantage to england ; but aussy shud have contested that decision more vigorosly rather than nodding meekily.

        • June 28th 2016 @ 5:26pm
          maxxlord said | June 28th 2016 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

          I take your point Shop, and while of course I did go overboard into my current pet rant, my third sentence highlighted my point in respect of England which was that Jones got his selection spot on for this series and with much shorter time than his counterpart had. The combined england effort sprang out of the fact that they had specialists across all positions and when I say specialists I mean fullbacks who can run and kick, scrumhalfs who can defend and pass, an eight who can break the line, flyhalf who can control territory and a goalkicker who scores more often than not. This is where Jones won the series vs the wallabies that have half baked players who lack some of the core skills for their primary roles. The result is that the wallaby game plan is designed to mask these deficiencies. Jones’ second masterstroke was attacking exactly where these deficiencies lay and getting his players to constantly exploit and magnify these wallaby short comings.. Brilliant coaching. Cheika on the other hand has continued with Skelton, a lock who can’t jump and a scrumhalf who can’t pass among other, is it any wonder that these issues were exploited and what has Cheika done to improve these player or find others who can execute core skills?

      • June 28th 2016 @ 11:33am
        A.O.Tear Rower said | June 28th 2016 @ 11:33am | ! Report

        So who does Cheika select that he

        1) Knows is the best?
        2) Isnt an experiment?

        Phipps was and has been first choice scrumhalf and was the obvious choice to start. Perhaps in hindsight he should not have remained first choice but thats hindsight.
        Palus selection was bench cover after McCalman was injured and Palu was OK for the very very limited minutes he had.
        Mumm played OK in the WC last year and was an obvious selection. Was not fantastic in this series but that again is hindsight.

        You are forgetting something. Your selections are made in hindsight with anger. Made as if they were obvious when they were not. Made forgetting that these “failed” “experiments” were part of the 2nd best team in the world right now.

        Having visited this site often back in 2012 and 2013 I can remember you as one that posted nothing but vitirol for Mr Deans and my question to you is, are you now going to do the same to Cheika?

        • June 28th 2016 @ 11:45am
          A.O.Tear Rower said | June 28th 2016 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          “2nd best team right now” should read “2nd best team in 2015”.

        • June 28th 2016 @ 3:36pm
          Markus said | June 28th 2016 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

          Mumm’s poor play in this series reflected his very poor play throughout the Super Rugby season, anyone who watched would not need to rely on hindsight.

          Phipps I can understand starting the first test, and potentially even continuing to start in the other tests. But Frisby should have gotten some game time, especially after Phipps repeatedly faded as games went on. It was a poor decision up front to have no intention of introducing Frisby at any time in the three games, hindsight or no.

          • June 28th 2016 @ 6:58pm
            A.O.Tear Rower said | June 28th 2016 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

            So who does he pick over Mumm that isnt an “experiment”?
            Arnold, Carter, Horwill, Simmons, Coleman, Skelton?
            I think you will find he picked all those players too and started some ahead of Mumm who had very little influence on the series outcome.

    • June 28th 2016 @ 5:49am
      Daveski said | June 28th 2016 @ 5:49am | ! Report

      Maxxlord some fair points but not really related to this specific article are they?

      Too many roar posters seem happy to cut n paste the same spiel / rant into every article they can. I’m sure I can find someone arguing a Tah conspiracy on the Day One Wimbledon blog…..

      • June 28th 2016 @ 7:10am
        soapit said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:10am | ! Report

        there plenty of cut paste articles written on here by under the left column (not this one). its part of the fabric of the site.

      • June 28th 2016 @ 12:10pm
        A.O.Tear Rower said | June 28th 2016 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

        No fair points Daveski.
        A few unfair points though.

        People like that love to put certain players down even when Aus is winning but as soon as they lose they say “see Cheika doesnt know what hes talking about and those players are bad”.

        Cheikas selections of Mumm, Palu, Skelton and Carter did not play a major role in the defeat to England nor were they terrible selections. Aus enjoyed long periods with the ball.
        You could argue that Australia lacked a 2nd playmaking option in the backline and it was a mistake but Beale, Giteau, Toomua and Lealiifano were not options in the first test, as starters at least.

        Aus were also without a huge chunk of their most experienced players. Pocock, Giteau, Cooper, Genia, Mitchell, AAC, Douglas, McCalman and Beale.

    • Roar Guru

      June 28th 2016 @ 6:10am
      Carlos the Argie said | June 28th 2016 @ 6:10am | ! Report

      Hi Brett!

      Nice points. I think that many people missed the fact that Eddie believed that this tour was extremely important for him (and England) and probably has been planning his strategy since the end of the 6N. There were some things that look prepared specifically for this tour. Look at the Vunipola brothers, for example. I don’t rate them very high, but Eddie used one of Hansen’s sayings: Horses for courses, and he made them get fit for something very specific. He made them ready to sprint 20 to 30 times a game but only for 5 yards. This was so their power would penetrate defenses, instead of Skelton’s mass without speed (or acceleration). He knew that the Vunipola’s would never be able to run like Slipper or Pocock/McMahon. But he wanted something different from them. He also made them defend close to the rucks, Billy a bit further out, to minimize their running needs in the games. (This is why you saw Toomua running by Billy, I think the only time the Wobblies exploited this defensive position).
      He used Itoje and the other third rowers as the “runners” on the field. If you look at any ruck in the game, the English were much more disciplined regarding their defensive positioning. They were also disciplined attacking. A few passes and if it didn’t work they would kick. And they kicked very well.

      If anything, I believe this series was won by coaching and not so much by player selection by the Wallabies. The English KNEW better what they wanted to do and were more precise.

      • Roar Guru

        June 28th 2016 @ 6:14am
        Carlos the Argie said | June 28th 2016 @ 6:14am | ! Report

        Let me add to the “intelligence” and planning issue. In the 5 meter scrum where Vunipola runs over to score. If you look at the video, when Hopper decides to switch sides, Billy is looking at them do this. AT that moment he realizes that with England’s put in, he only has Hooper defending that side plus the wing. Too much space for a 30 kilo lighter flanker to defend in 5 meters.

        Hooper “telegraphed” Vunipola that play.

        • June 28th 2016 @ 6:30am
          dru said | June 28th 2016 @ 6:30am | ! Report

          I see this a little different.

          Fardy was injured in the immediate play before. Slipper had been having problems staying square, partly due to shenaningans by the English THP but also because the push from Fardy/Simmo (or was it Skelton) wasnt balanced. Defending scrum at 5m Hooper took responsibility to push on that side with injured Fardy crossing to the stable side.

          Good work from in the scrum call (fast ball) and from Vunipola for execution.

          Back on topic, England were more organised throughout, more stable. Clearly Eddie was targetting the series for a long time and pulled together very well.

          • Roar Guru

            June 28th 2016 @ 6:46am
            Carlos the Argie said | June 28th 2016 @ 6:46am | ! Report

            Dru, no matter the reason for Hooper’s switch. Vunipola is clearly seen on the video watching this. It was a clear cut case for him then to attack the “weaker” defender.

            • June 28th 2016 @ 10:30am
              Gilbert said | June 28th 2016 @ 10:30am | ! Report

              And he ran to the try line untouched.

              • June 28th 2016 @ 5:18pm
                CUW said | June 28th 2016 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

                that is a wrong statement and infact unkind to vunipolla.

                billy got to the tryline with hooper and the wing hanging on for dear life 😛

                as i said in another post, given the angle and the dominance of england scrum , there was no way for anyone to stop billy , legally. 😀

      • June 28th 2016 @ 7:03am
        Kane said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:03am | ! Report

        I hope he had been planning this tour since the end of the 6 Nations. What else would he be doing? It is his job.

        Also Cheika should have been planning for this since the last World Cup less a few weeks off over Christmas.

        No excuses either way. They both had their time to plan.

        • Roar Guru

          June 28th 2016 @ 7:15am
          moaman said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:15am | ! Report

          I was thinking the same thing Kane but struggling t ocome up with a polite way of saying it.Thankyou.

          England have turned their fortunes around in much the same way Australia did last year. There is much to be admired in the way they have conducted themselves and it will be interesting to watch their progress.

          • Roar Guru

            June 28th 2016 @ 7:18am
            Carlos the Argie said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:18am | ! Report

            Kane, Moaman, I agree. Cheika should have been doing his too. But somehow, I don’t think he has. There were too many “improvisations” to call this a long term planning project.

            Eddie was also hungrier to show them. Cheka didn’t have this, he should have!

            • June 28th 2016 @ 8:40am
              Bakkies said | June 28th 2016 @ 8:40am | ! Report

              Cheika is too hung on a way of playing rather than adjusting to the opposition selection and tactics wise. How much of it is coming from Pulver. Kicking for touch and ‘aving a go rather than taking the points has been the Australian ‘way’ since when? Can’t remember Dwyer, Macqueen, Jones and dare say Knuckles teams making such daft decisions.

            • Columnist

              June 28th 2016 @ 9:17am
              Brett McKay said | June 28th 2016 @ 9:17am | ! Report

              All really good points guys. I’d be surprised if the foundations of this series win weren’t first pitched in Eddie’s job interview, actually.

              I’d imagine a big part of his presentation centred on a plan to win in Australia, and the 6 Nations was about building the combinations to do that.

              We know Jones planned Japan’s win over South Africa as far as three years out, so I’d be surprised if he wasn’t working on the plan for Australia from day 1..

              • June 28th 2016 @ 12:42pm
                Markus said | June 28th 2016 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

                Jones seems like the kind of guy that would have working plans against all opposition teams as a hobby, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has been working on a plan to take down Australia since he left.

                Australian critics of Jones would even argue that his plan to take down Australia actually started back in 2001.

              • June 28th 2016 @ 2:42pm
                Akari said | June 28th 2016 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

                I think that Eddie Jones’ inside knowledge about the players and coach helped. This is something that Cheika should have known but he still fell to the wiles of the master.

                The WBs can only get better and the whitewash (which is totally unexpected) is a rude wake-up call. Cheika and the WBs are hurting (as are the supporters of course). I trust that the recommencement of super rugby should help the boys vent their frustrations and re-focus on what they need to do to get to the next level. Let’s hope that Cheika is planning for the RC and how to get the WBs to where they should be before the EOYT.

              • June 28th 2016 @ 4:52pm
                Perthstayer said | June 28th 2016 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

                Akari – absolutely.

                Also – EJ’s positive influence would have been far less if England had toured SA or NZ

            • June 28th 2016 @ 2:26pm
              OJP said | June 28th 2016 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

              @ Markus

              ‘Australian critics of Jones would even argue that his plan to take down Australia actually started back in 2001.’

              lol, that cracked me up!

      • June 28th 2016 @ 12:19pm
        A.O.Tear Rower said | June 28th 2016 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

        Im a big fan of the Vunipolas and both are very fit players doing a lot of work.

        I guess youve judged this book by its cover.

      • June 28th 2016 @ 5:30pm
        CUW said | June 28th 2016 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

        @ Carlos the Argie :

        going a little further, i would say he planned for this meeting from the time he got the job.

        eddie knew he could win 6N given the state of nations AND the very fovorable draw for england. had he not won it would have been a big cockup.

        he knew the challenge of playing auzzy in auzzy particularly after a long season. dont forget the english have been playing for almost 12 months – aviva , world cup , aviva , auzzy.

        if u go see the 6N teams, he has not done much changes , most of them enforced wither by injury or bans . he of course was stuck with the Lancaster squad due to the clubs and country agreement. still he has been using more or less the same guys when they are available. even though he brought in newbies to the squad , he has stuck with the oldies.

        it is interesting that quite a few guys like Vunipolla B , Haskell , Brown and Hartley of course , have stated their satisfaction with jones and the change in attitude in the whole team. now , these are “BIG” players in the england team. especially billy and brwon have been seen as the standouts even during lancaster’s time. so for them to credit Jones – he must be doing something very right !

        Cheika – well Jones he got inside his head – like an episode of supernatural. he strted doing tings jones wanted rather than cheika wanted. he played into the jones’ talk and let JOnes do exactly what he planned. he got caught up in bodyline – in the end there was nothing of the sort . maybe Jones meant putting the ” body on the line” , which is what the emglish did when defending. 🙂

        i dont know if he has analysts but somehow he failed to see the league style defence in the 2nd test. he failed to see the obvious defensive shortcommings of winger watson , who tends to come in and leave an open door. he failed to see the tactical kicking style of ford – farrell axis , rather than moving the ball around and did not put an extra catcher at the back.

        also – he stubbornly stuck to his 677 philosophy, which has failed since the world cup semi final. people will say auzzy had more ball and more territory and more run meters and more apsses and more everytihng , but i say the mnoe thing that mattered – points – they had less than england.

        • Roar Guru

          June 29th 2016 @ 1:28am
          Carlos the Argie said | June 29th 2016 @ 1:28am | ! Report

          I don’t think we disagree much. As I mentioned in the comment, Eddie planned it better, chose his players better, made them play to his player’s abilities and to the Wallabies’ weaknesses.

          I still think that the Vunipola’s are good players for the English side, but I don’t think that they would fit an All Black mold, for example. Faumuina is much more mobile and Read is a much more complete player than either Vunipola. But Eddie knew what he wanted from them, trained them for their specific purpose and got them disciplined to do what he wanted from the.

          Kudos to Eddie. But it seems that he becomes unwelcomed over time. Let’s see if this happens in England too.

          • June 29th 2016 @ 6:39am
            Neil Back said | June 29th 2016 @ 6:39am | ! Report

            Carlos, give it up mate. You previously slated the Vunipolas before this tour and you give every impression of a man desperately trying to justify himself despite the evidence. How you can still tell us Billy isn’t as mobile as McMahon (using Hooper as a comparison is rediculous) after we’ve watched his line speed in midfield and bullocking runs is just nonsense. Please tell me where Slipper showed up over Maco?! You were spinning the same line during the 6N when Billy was largely considered player of the tournament, ran prodigious metres and for the full 80.

            • Roar Guru

              June 30th 2016 @ 6:01am
              Carlos the Argie said | June 30th 2016 @ 6:01am | ! Report

              Neil, you can look with your eyes and reach your conclusions. Good for you.
              I don’t rate them high, as I don’t rate high Skelton.
              I think that they fit England’s style of play and Eddie used them brilliantly. That’s it.

              We don’t have to agree.

    • June 28th 2016 @ 6:45am
      Neil Back said | June 28th 2016 @ 6:45am | ! Report

      Another thing Jones has brought. When you hear players and coaches talking about having a lot to improve and work on and not being happy with the win, it often comes across as part platitude. Now you know things will be put under the microscope and the work put in effectively.

      With three of the last four U20 championships going to England and the Saxons clean sweeping SA too, the biggest challenge for Eddy could be managing the cattle. Nice problem to have.

      • Roar Guru

        June 28th 2016 @ 7:08am
        moaman said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:08am | ! Report

        What is it with Roarers and their “cattle”?

        • June 28th 2016 @ 7:43am
          Kane said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:43am | ! Report

          I like my cattle cooked blue (insert NSW conspiracy).

        • June 28th 2016 @ 9:10am
          Dave_S said | June 28th 2016 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          Don’t make us do sheep jokes, moaman … 🙂

          • June 28th 2016 @ 12:27pm
            A.O.Tear Rower said | June 28th 2016 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

            “Dont make us do sheep”.

            Nobody is forcing you to but each to their own I guess.

        • Roar Rookie

          June 28th 2016 @ 9:51am
          Shane D said | June 28th 2016 @ 9:51am | ! Report

          Stephen Moooooooo re

    • June 28th 2016 @ 7:01am
      Lostintokyo said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      England have one of the larger playing pools of quality athletes in world rugby and will have a lot of depth in their push for number one. To beat that Kiwi side they will need more enterprising backs. Some real game breakers in the centres and wings with the X factor.

      As England just won the U20 Championship, and domestic club sides are on the up with local talent, Eddie has options many world coaches would be envious of, Cheika included. But the next step is to build an outstanding backline if the little kid from Matraville High wants his team to be at the top.

      • June 28th 2016 @ 7:11am
        Neil Back said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:11am | ! Report

        I think we’d all agree with that, including Eddy, since he’s stated that to be one of the next works in progress, or at least in terms of the attacking phases.

        Quandary though. How can you leave out the boot of Farrell when he’s neither the best 10 or centre option in attack?

        • June 28th 2016 @ 7:17am
          soapit said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:17am | ! Report

          assuming you dont have an equalish option to replace him you just need to decide what kind of game you want to run. im not so sure they need a backline that can light things up if their kicking game and pack performs well enough. defence will have to improve tho obviously.

          might not be enough every time but the improved fitness and attitude is a great start

        • June 28th 2016 @ 7:30am
          Lostintokyo said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:30am | ! Report

          Yes NB, agree on the Farrell issue. How could any world coach leave out a kicker with a 90% hit rate, in this series at least. Jones has a lot of time for Ford too. It may have to come down to one or the other?

          • June 28th 2016 @ 7:53am
            May Anderson said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:53am | ! Report

            Lost in T – I hear that Eddie is thinking of moving Farrell to FB. Brown is fine when he’s feeling okay and Goode has a long punt but doesn’t hit the line any better than Brown who’s no Folau or Dagg as a runner. That leaves Eddie with two good nines and Ford who does the kind of job Eddie wants at 10. No problem with Nowell, Watson, Yarde and May after May is well again. Tuilagi and Joseph would appear to be the missing combo Eddie wants and will get.

            • June 28th 2016 @ 3:05pm
              Neil Back said | June 28th 2016 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

              Can’t see Farrell at FB. Engine, ticker, tackle and boot but no pace and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him under a high ball.

            • June 28th 2016 @ 5:48pm
              CUW said | June 28th 2016 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

              @ May Anderson

              dont know about tthe talk , but i have never seen farrell at 15.

              he was 12 at u20 world cup with ford at 10. he plays 10 for sarries . he does not play 5 even in emergency (as far as i know but who knows if he has on a funny day).

              u just cant go to 15 in a test match and expect to be good. even folau in his first couple of years was crap at 15 – did not know how to position and still is not that good at kicking for touch.

              it seems the only position for him is centers , coz he was crap at 10 in the test as well.

          • June 28th 2016 @ 9:54am
            Bakkies said | June 28th 2016 @ 9:54am | ! Report

            Jones has another option in Henry Slade who is very accurate off the boot and potential to be a better 10 then Ford and more of a threat with the ball then Farrell. He was picked at 13 the last time he played for England mainly to give him a run but broke his leg at the wrong time.

            • June 28th 2016 @ 10:04am
              May Anderson said | June 28th 2016 @ 10:04am | ! Report

              True about Slade, Bakkies, but Eddie wants to see him at 13 because of his good pass to fast wingers.
              If you’re a Boks fan as your name leads me to believe, that kick from Jantjies to JP was a great sight on the weekend.

              • June 28th 2016 @ 10:20am
                Bakkies said | June 28th 2016 @ 10:20am | ! Report

                That has to be dependent on Tuilagi or a 12 that can get over the gain line creating the space.. England will struggle to do that with a small 12. Te’o was going to be an option but he pulled up with an injury the first week of the tour.

              • June 28th 2016 @ 5:45pm
                CUW said | June 28th 2016 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

                but then even a big 12 like Burrell could not fit into the defensive pattern and tbh did not really pose a threat at the line to simillarly big centers.

                if Tui comes back , he better be 200% fit. for eg. against the Racing 92 backs he made 13 meters off 7 runs (partly explained as not being fully fit) !! he cannot play on wing so….

                the problem for eddie is , how do u drop a player who has done very little (if at all) wrong ?? he dropped burrell becos he was not fitting into the defensive line. he dropped harrison beoz he was getting hammered at collisions. but Farrell – has done all he is supposed to do , so…

      • June 28th 2016 @ 7:14am
        taylorman said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:14am | ! Report

        Those options have always been there, its the coaching that hasnt.

        Eddie has yet to show his colours when he has a bad patch and maturity on behalf of both England and Jones himself will need to be at its best to manage through that.

        The signs are there for England in terms of its youth, they just need to be realised on the centre stage over the next year or three, and Jones has done a good job of accelerating that process.

      • Columnist

        June 28th 2016 @ 9:20am
        Brett McKay said | June 28th 2016 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        Lost, from the couple of articles I’ve done from my Eddie interview, the back line was the first thing he identified for change, but the biggest change to make.

        So he will certainly need to make the back line improvements to topple NZ, but he knows that; it’s no.1 on his list..

        • June 28th 2016 @ 10:01am
          Bakkies said | June 28th 2016 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          A lot of it comes down to Tuilagi’s fitness. He was absolutely key when England beat NZ in 2012.

          • June 28th 2016 @ 2:30pm
            OJP said | June 28th 2016 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

            I agree that Tuilagi offers alot to England and surely Eddie wont make the mistake of playing him on the wing….

          • June 28th 2016 @ 3:11pm
            Neil Back said | June 28th 2016 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

            Didn’t really kick on from there, although a run of injuries hasn’t helped.

            Always fancied him more as impact off the bench

          • June 28th 2016 @ 5:53pm
            CUW said | June 28th 2016 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

            Tui is a lot slower after and becoz of his injuries.

            and when he played the semi against racing , if was as if he had doubts in the back of his mind – 13meters from 7 runs – even the commentary was joking that most props make more ground at scrums 🙂

            unless he is 200% it will be a big mistake. he shud take like a year off and get fully fit – maybe go into martial arts training. else he will be not good for anyone.

      • June 28th 2016 @ 7:05pm
        lex said | June 28th 2016 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

        I was watching a Q&A video with Jones after the test sponsored by the Daily Telegraph with Paul Ackford. He made a very interesting point about how other unions put more pressure on players than the English to improve and compete. The reason being that they are smaller and have fewer teams to sustain professional players so there is fierce competition for the limited berths. Also, you can make a pretty good living playing for a club in England or France. In Australia and New Zealand you have to play for the national side in order to really make any significant income fostering more competition.

        It was a very interesting and in depth chat where he fielded questions from those attending.

        • Roar Guru

          June 29th 2016 @ 1:30am
          Carlos the Argie said | June 29th 2016 @ 1:30am | ! Report

          Paul Ackord? Hmmm, he hasn’t made sense since Mendez clocked him…

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