Turinui: Battle of big picture vs minutiae

International
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by Morgan Turinui

Eddie Jones hasn’t put a foot wrong so far this Test series and you can bet things are unfolding all to his plan.

One-nil up in the series, with all the pressure firmly on the Wallabies, due in no small part to Jones’s own role in the conversation over the past fortnight, Eddie is exactly where he would want it to be at this point.

Eddie has one truly unwavering characteristic - his attention to detail. He would have come to Australia with a plan on every single aspect of the trip, on and off the field.

How he speaks to journalists, Australian or British, when his team comes and goes, how he executes tactics and training - it’s all part of a strategy.

That showed on Saturday night - England were prepared for the Wallabies, and armed with an extra six Test matches since the last time they played Australia.

While it might seem like Eddie has taken the pressure off his players, he will most certainly be heaping it on behind closed doors.

Having been part of an Eddie Jones team before, there are a couple of directions in which he could take his motivation this week but rest assured, whichever way, his players will sing from his hymn book.

Eddie is one of the hardest-working people I have ever met and, as a player, you see him working harder than anyone else on staff or in the squad and that alone makes you respect what he says.

He is the most well-informed, prepared coach in world rugby and he does not miss a detail if it’s there to be seen.

That immediately gives authority to everything he says and every instruction he hands out.

That’s his big power - making you believe in what he’s saying.

For England this week, there could be a temptation to let their foot off the pedal and that is something Eddie will have to ward against, though i doubt he will have much trouble keeping his side amped for the second Test.

I don’t think Eddie gets enough credit for how much he’s grown as a coach, largely unheard during his time in Japan, at least in the Australian news cycle, before the Brave Blossoms’ incredible upset over South Africa at the World Cup.

On the other side of the coin, it’s not too much of a stretch to see many of the same qualities in Michael Cheika that we see in Jones.

He prepares well and he throws in that sliver of personality to help get his message across.

Michael Cheika puts trust in his assistants. Photo: Getty ImagesCheika’s great strength is his big picture view and the way he brings good people around him.

As the head coach, he looks after the big stuff and he has quality assistant coaches that he puts all his trust in to take control of their specific area.

Australia and England played out a brilliant Test match in Brisbane and it was Jones who eked out a tactical advantage over the home side, reaping the rewards of their analysis, able to put pressure on Australia's exits from their own 22.

The most positive sign about this Test series is not once has anyone talked about it as a curtain raiser for the Rugby Championship or the Bledisloe - this is the main event.

This weekend we will see if the minutiae or the big picture prevails and we can all just hope for another display like we saw at Suncorp Stadium.

Who will prevail in the coaching battle? Well, that's down to 46 men in jerseys and boots at AAMI Park.

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