Andrew Johns joins Red Rose

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Eddie Jones has already brought Australian rugby legends into his England camp, but on Monday it was rugby league legend Andrew Johns who stood out at Coogee Oval.

Jones invited the former Newcastle playmaker to training to give his two pivots Owen Farrell and George Ford some of the subtleties of attack.

"I’ve always admired his skills as a player, he’s got a lot of knowledge a lot he can teach people and we've been chatting for a while about the possibility of him coming and doing a little bit of work so today was the ideal day when we had quite a down time in training," he said.

"(He was talking) Just about detail of attacking, precise detail of attacking."

Jones has long been a fan of rugby league influences in rugby union, mentoring players like Lote Tuqiri and Wendell Sailor in his time at the Wallabies helm, as well as bringing Ben Te'o into the current England setup.

The England coach said Johns's advice was extra effective because it was coming from a different
source.

"Things that he’s saying said in a different voice, in a different way that stimulates learning. We've got two outstanding young 10s in Owen Farrell and George Ford and we want them to keep learning," he said.

"And those guys like Andrew Johns, they touch the ball or did touch the ball 50-60 times in a game, they had to fix defenders, know when to drift, know when to be straight, know when to take a little unders line, how you use your eyes, where you position your hands and for those guys to have that lesson this afternoon is invaluable.

"They'll remember it for the rest of their lives."

James Haskell sat out England training. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile there's no guarantee that Farrell and Ford will be changed men for the final Test, Jones said they'll definitely have taken something away.

"They will have learned things," he said.

"You learn things doesn’t always mean you pass the test but they’ll definitely learn things."

While Johns was a notable addition to England training, two battered players are under an injury cloud.

Prolific backrower James Haskell left AAMI Park in a boot on Saturday night and was still making his way around in the boot at Monday's training, with a suspected foot problem, while winger Jack Nowell is working his way through the concussion ready-to-play protocols.

Jones was confident that both would be in the mix to play in the final Test and there would be no temptation to rest players if they were keen to play.

"It’s more precaution at the moment (with Haskell)," he said.

"He hasn’t trained much over the last couple of weeks, he has an amazing capacity to absorb pain. "

"He's still in contention for the weekend."

 

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