Having beaten Japan in what Eddie Jones has called a “dress rehearsal for the World Cup” in terms of preparation and wholesale changes, the England head coach spoke to RugbyPass about his selection for their final match of the autumn against Australia and what to expect from Cheika’s men.
With Alex Lozowski and Danny Care axed from the squad after missing key tackles last week, Jones said, “Selection is always about performance and they can both be disappointed but they know what they need to do, to go away and work on. And they’ll go away and work on it and if they do that well they’ll be back into the mix.”
“Italy caused them a lot of problems in the scrum and I’m sure they’ve had a full week training scrummaging. They’ll be a tougher opposition in the scrum this week,” Jones told RugbyPass. “It always happens if you have a bad week scrummaging, next week the scrum is invariably better. They’ve got a front row that’s the size of any front row in the world, so size is not the issue, it’s all about technique and effort.”
With Jack Nowell out with injury, Joe Cokanasiga earns his second start, having scored on his debut last week. Jones commented, “He made a really good start. He’s a young kid but he’s got something about him. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, he can find the line.”
Having served out his increased ban, Nathan Hughes is now available to Jones who has named him on the bench and it sounds like we may see the backrower early in the second half on Saturday. Jones said, “I’ve never seen him in better nick in the three years that I’ve been here in England. He’s certainly ready to make a significant contribution.”
Similarly, Manu Tuilagi will wear the number 23 shirt having initially been named there against South Africa, only to be withdrawn with a light groin strain and able to take part in minimal training since. When asked if Manu is ready, Jones replied, “We just want him to be absolutely brilliant at the basics, do the simple things well. He’s worked hard to get back on the field. It’s a real tribute to his tenacity. The players enjoy playing with him so we can’t wait for him to get out there.”
Cheika’s Wallabies side have only won four internationals in 2018, so what does Jones expect from them as opposition on Saturday? He told RugbyPass, “It’s been a difficult year for them, sometimes you go through this. I haven’t followed them closely to know how many injuries they’ve had or what are the other circumstances to involve in their probably unsatisfactory year. All I know is that on Saturday they’re going to be at their absolute best. It’s an Australia v England test match and they’ll leave nothing out there.”
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