Wallabies "will enjoy the pressure" at Twickenham: Jones

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

England coach Eddie Jones says his team won’t be coming into Twickenham on Saturday with any more confidence than the Wallabies, despite their recent record against the Australians.

The Wallabies come into the match with a 4-8 record from their 12 Tests this season and having lost the countries’ last five encounters.

England have had an inconsistent year as well but a gritty win over South Africa and an enthralling one-point defeat to New Zealand have changed their landscape considerably in recent weeks.

None of that would make the under-fire Wallabies an easy target, though, Jones said.

“I think every Test side is under pressure,” he said.

“Who's under pressure in New Zealand now? New Zealand are. Pressure's all relative.

“We want to be under pressure all the time because we want to play at our best.

“That's a good sort of pressure.

“I think Australia will be enjoying the pressure. They'll be at their best on Saturday.”

Asked whether he felt the Wallabies has some vulnerability about them, Jones said confidence was determined once the game kicked off.

“Confidence is a funny thing,” he said.

“You can get a couple of passes stick at the start of the game, a couple of lineouts go right, a couple of set plays go right and all of a sudden the team changes.

“Just look at the New Zealand-Ireland game. Which team was confident at the start, which team wasn’t confident at the end of the game?

“So there has been a change. New Zealand went into that game confident, played brilliantly the first four minutes, the last eight minutes you wouldn’t have known that was a world champion side.

“Confidence comes from your first entry in the game, what you do, what you are able to achieve and how can you stick to your game plan.”

England’s tight victory over South Africa that opened their season dramatically changed the conversation around his own team and he said he was beginning to see

“It (confidence) happens in the 80 minutes,” he said.

“What I do know is that this team is growing, growing in depth, growing in leadership density, growing in the interaction between the players.

“What we’ve seen since the South Africa tour is the fighting spirit within this side and that is only going to get better.”

Jones has made some big calls in his team to face the Aussies, shifting co-captain Dylan Hartley to the bench in favour of Lions hooker Jamie George.

New Zealand picked apart the England lineout when George entered the game in the second half of their 16-15 loss but Jones said those failings were not simply down to the rake, throwing in a thinly veiled swipe at the officiating of scrums in the process.

"The line-out is never about the hooker, it's always about the cohesion," he said.

"When they pick four locks as they did in the second half, there is not much space in that lineout.

"You've got to remember the line-out contest has changed. One of the most interesting things in November is the difference in the contest. You have got line-outs being refereed legally, you have got to be a metre apart. Now we are getting a lot more contest whereas before we had two-metre gaps.

"Now we have got scrums – you can have a weak scrum, hook it at the back and collapse, and it's play on.

"It has taken a lot of contest out of the scrum. This is one of the fascinating things about the game.

"I have said to Neal Hatley he might be out of a job. If scrums keep on going like this, we're not going to have scrums. We are just going to have seven line-out forwards."