‘Aussies have an inferiority complex against us!’ England head coach Eddie Jones aims cheeky dig at the Wallabies ahead of Twickenham showdown
- England are seeking a record eighth successive win over their old rivals
- Eddie Jones sought to turn the screw ahead of Saturday’s Twickenham clash
- Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie has been forced to name a patched-up side
Eddie Jones delved into his mind-games manual to heap the pressure on Australia by highlighting their ‘inferiority complex’ when it comes to facing England.
The head coach named a team featuring a surprisingly revamped back line — with Manu Tuilagi on the wing and a 10-12 axis of Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell — and, in time-honoured tradition, had a dig at his compatriots.
The tone was respectful and jocular but there was no doubting the ominous intent as Jones said: ‘We are ready to take on a very good Australian team and chase them down the street.’
England head coach Eddie Jones (above) has piled the pressure on injury-hit Australia
Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie was forced to name a patched-up side with loosehead prop James Slipper at tighthead, having already had to cope with the absence of star backs Quade Cooper, Marika Koroibete and Samu Kerevi.
So England optimism is well-founded and Jones sought to turn the screw ahead of Saturday’s Twickenham clash by emphasising the sky-high stakes they are confronted with.
England are seeking a record eighth successive win over their old rivals and Jones said: ‘Australians have a bit of an inferiority complex against the English and I understand it. The country started from convicts being sent down there. We’ve always looked up at England as the mother country.
‘I remember as a kid, we would stand around for the anthem and it was God Save The Queen. We were the smaller country of England so when we played them in sport, it was an opportunity to prove we were not the smaller country.
‘I know as an Australian — and it’s probably hard for the English to understand — what an important game this is for Australia. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Olympics, Test cricket, rugby league. This is the game that defines their season.
Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell will form a new-look creative hub in the England back line
‘As much as they would have liked to win the game at Murrayfield, this is the game they have targeted. We understand how important it is to them. Just because the game’s gone professional, don’t assume that those long-term rivalries have lessened in importance.’
Despite the setback of losing against Scotland last Sunday, the Wallabies have been in revival mode this season — twice beating world champions South Africa during the Rugby Championship. So Jones was at pains to emphasise that they will not be taken lightly.
‘The Australian side have had a great run recently, they won five Tests in a row and have played some really good rugby under Dave Rennie,’ he said. ‘A number of the staff who have worked with me are on his staff, so they will be very well prepared. This is the game they want.’
As forecast by Sportsmail, Smith and captain Farrell will form a new-look creative hub in the England back line, after Jones was unable to pick them in tandem for the autumn opener against Tonga. He can see a chemistry rapidly developing between the pair, and even mentioned them in the same breath as two stellar combinations from the past, Aaron Mauger and Dan Carter of New Zealand and Australia’s Rod Kafer and Steve Larkham.
Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie has been forced to name a patched-up side for match
Jones said: ‘They are constantly talking and thinking about the game. We believe they are going to be a really good combination, not just for this game but in the future.’
Naming Tuilagi on the wing was a major shock as the Sale centre has only appeared out wide against New Zealand in 2014. It was an experiment that was never repeated — until now.
Jones claimed to have seen enough of the 30-year-old on the wing to convince him that the ploy could work. And he made clear that Tuilagi would have a fluid role.
‘The players will mix and match to their strengths and we believe that’s the best backline to play against Australia,’ he said.
‘I have seen Manu play on the wing and he can handle 12, 13, 11, 14 — but probably not 15. He can handle all those positions with aplomb and he’s in the best condition of his career. I’ve never seen his desire higher and his ability to play centre or wing for us is an added bonus.’
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