Eddie stops clowning around for now

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

England coach Eddie Jones was keen to move on from his verbal to and fro with Michael Cheika after Saturday’s 37-21 win over Australia, focusing on his bid to make England the best side in the world.

He did have a thinly-veiled swipe at The Australian newspaper’s cartoonist, over a depiction of him as a clown in recent days, but the England mentor was keen to move on.

“I’d rather not talk about it, it’s all done and dusted,” he said. “It’s part of the build up to a game.

“I thought that [the clown cartoon] was funny.

The Australian (newspaper) used to have a good cartoonist and now they don’t.

“It’s probably because no one reads the paper now so they can’t afford to have a good cartoonist.”

Jones was complimentary about Australia’s progress from June, singling out Lopeti Timani as a major boost from the side they whitewashed in Australia.

“The No.8 makes a hell of a difference,” he said.

“He’s a big ball carrier, [Bernard] Foley’s playing much better than he was. That’s made them a much more dangerous team.”

Their win over Australia equalled the longest winning streak of any England team, with the side drawing comparisons to that world-beating 2002-03 side that won the Rugby World Cup in Australia, though Jones was quick to bat those parallels away.

“I think the 2003 side is a much better side than we are,” he said.

“They could win any number of ways. They had a very, very consistent scrum and lineout.

“We don’t have that yet. We’re getting there so they were a much better side than we are.” - Eddie Jones

The Rugby World Cup is Jones’s ultimate measure, an event that is 1020 days away and the England coach said he would be demanding more from his players in the next three years.

“We’ve got until the 2nd of November 8pm Japan time to get ready, and that’s what we’re aiming at,” he said.

“We want to be at our best that night.

As for the coming weeks, Jones said he wanted to see his players play like Test regulars in the Premiership competition.

“I want them to go back to their clubs and play like international players, they can’t be the best player on the ground every week but they’ve got to play with the intent of being an international player,” he said.

“When [winger] Marland [Yarde] goes back and plays for Harlequins he can’t just walk around the field and have a great old time at The Stoop.

“He’s got to chase hard, make his tackles and run hard like he did today.”

England kicks off its Six Nations campaign on February 2, 2017 against France.