Eddie Jones's warning to Sean McMahon

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

England coach Eddie Jones is expecting number eight Billy Vunipola to play the “game of his life” against Australia this weekend. 

Vunipola is the man set to go head-to-head with Sean McMahon in the second Test, with the latter starting in the position for the first time and giving up a 26 kg advantage to his opposite number. 

Jones was reluctant to comment too much on Australia’s lineup, but was willing to send McMahon a thinly veiled warning. 

“I don't know how McMahon will go but I know how Billy’s going to go... He's ready to play the game of his life.”

Jones did have praise for McMahon, having seen him play for Australia at the Tokyo Sevens some years ago.

“McMahon’s a good player, he's always impressed me,” he said. 

“I can remember watching him as s youngster playing for the Australian Sevens in the Tokyo Sevens. 

“He stood out by a mile. He was by far the best player. 

“A couple of years later, he's playing for the Melbourne Rebels, he's done well for them.”

Sean McMahon is Australia's youngest ever Sevens representative. Photo: Getty ImagesJones has tweaked his side in the opposite way to Wallabies mentor Michael Cheika this week, going for two playmakers with George Ford and Owen Farrell at 10 and 12 and switching to a six-two split on the bench, with utility Elliot Daly the last man in. 

The England coach said Daly’s inclusion gave them enough ability to adjust despite the lopsided bench. 

“That's just the way we think the game’s going to go,” he said. 

“I think we've got enough flexibility going six-two with Elliot Daly on the bench, who covers a variety of positions,clicks goals from 50m, he's pretty handy on the bench. 

“I just think that suits us this game.”

Ford and Farrell’s combination is clearly the first-choice 10-12 duo with Jones dropping Luther Burrell out of the swayed altogether after pulling him off 29 minutes into the first Test. 

Jones said it wasn't the only option they looked at, taking the chance to praise Ben Te’o for his improvement once again. 

“We looked at other options as well,” he said. 

“Ben Teo’s coming along nicely, he's had a much better week hand the first week and he's certainly getting into the swing of things but at this stage Owen and George are our best combination. 

“Their understanding of the game for 23 and 24-year-olds is absolutely outstanding,” he said. 

“They’ve got a great command of game sense and game understanding and acts important in big Test matches. 

“We get kicking options at 10 and 12. They're good communicators and give the team energy.”