RFU riches a double-edged sword: Larkham

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

England has won 20 out of 21 Tests under Eddie Jones, but Wallabies attack coach Stephen Larkham says his former mentor finds himself under pressure, by virtue of his position.

Jones’s England have become a world power since he took over in 2016, but Larkham said the rich resources afforded to England by the RFU, meant the heat was always on.

"He's done a pretty good job. I mean, the record speaks for itself,” he said.

"They've had a lot of close games that they've won so he's done a good job in that respect.

"But, if you look at the resources they have over here, he's probably a little bit spoilt from where he's come from.

"And what he's got now, I think the facilities are top class and they've got plenty of resources in and around the team too to make the most of the situation.

"When you've got all those resources and you've had the record that you've had, that's the expectation. That's where the pressure comes from.”

Eddie Jones was a strong influence on Larkham. Photo: Getty ImagesLarkham, though, knows intimately Jones is more than just a product of his resources, praising the Australian’s rugby mind, both for the minutiae and the bigger picture.

“Eddie was very good at identifying what a player goes through and we spent a bit of time analysing the game together," he said.

“A very technical mind, no doubt about that. He was into the nuts and bolts of everything.

“He also had that ability to sit back and probably look at the bigger picture.”

Australia doesn’t enjoy the financial riches of the RFU, an issue of which the rugby community has become painfully aware this year

“Anything they want, they pretty much get,” Larkham said.

"I mean, not that we don't get that. I think the ARU try to give us everything they can but there's not an unlimited bucket of money.”

While their finances mightn’t be as flush as England, this Wallabies team is coming together on the field, on a run of seven undefeated outings dating back to August.

Will Genia has been influential since making his return from France. Photo: Getty ImagesEngland has been quick to praise returned pair Kurtley Beale and Will Genia this week and Larkham said the duo lifted their teammates.

"Willy was on tour but he missed that game at the end there,” he said.

"They've been tremendous this year.

“The confidence that they give the other players on the field is something that can't be measured.

"Not only from their communication but from the way they're playing.

“You look at Willy's games since he's been back they've been outstanding and he could have easily picked up man of the match each week.

"So it gives the other players a lot of confidence knowing that you've got two guys who are so consistent on the field around you.” 

Australia takes on England on Saturday November 18, kicking off at 3pm local, Sunday 2am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports and SBS.