Rugby Union: England dominant in series win over Australia, but Eddie Jones says work left to do
Victorious coach Eddie Jones praised England’s historic series whitewash in Australia but warned his team must find greater consistency if they are to become the top team in world rugby.
The Six Nations champions yet again mastered the Wallabies 44-40 in the final Test in Sydney on Saturday to become the first touring team since South Africa 45 years ago to sweep a three-Test series.
England have leapfrogged the Wallabies to number two in the world rankings following the 39-28 Brisbane win and 23-7 Melbourne success to retain the Cook Cup.
England are now unbeaten in nine internationals since Jones became their first foreign coach in the wake of their humiliating early exit to the Wallabies in the pool stages of their own World Cup last year.
Taskmaster Jones, who was the Wallabies coach when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England in extra-time, is not resting on his laurels and is demanding his team improve more to challenge for the World Cup trophy in Japan in 2019.
“We’re pleased with the 3-0 result, but we realise we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Jones told reporters after Saturday’s victory. “We’re inconsistent in our defence, we’ve had two poor games in defence and one very good game and if we want to be the number one team in the world then we need greater consistency in that.”
But Jones saw England’s victory as a catalyst for rugby back home.
“I think it’s been a great tour. It’s been fantastic for rugby,” he said.
“We’ve seen three fantastic games of rugby. I am sure people in England are probably talking a little bit less about the pound devaluing (after the EU exit vote) and more about the value of the England rugby side.”
Jones said he was an “eternal optimist” and was confident before the team’s arrival in Australia that England could beat the Wallabies 3-0.
“There were weaknesses in the Australian side that we identified and we thought we could get them in various areas,” he said.
“We were able to do that to some extent so the possibility of us winning 3-0 was always very strong.”
Jones luxuriated in England’s rare achievement of proving their superiority over the Wallabies in Australia, having only won three of their previous 17 there internationals prior to touching down.
England became the first side since South Africa’s Springboks in 1971 to clean up the Wallabies in a three-Test series in Australia.
“Very few sides beat Australia in Australia, the All Blacks do, but there aren’t too many other sides,” Jones said.
“So we’ve not only beaten Australia but we’ve beaten them 3-0 and that’s the first time they’ve been whitewashed since 1971. It’s a significant achievement, but then only a small step for us.”
The hero of England’s Sydney triumph was Saracens sharpshooter Owen Farrell, whose 24 points proved the difference after the Wallabies outscored the tourists five tries to four.
Farrell landed six penalty goals and three conversions from 10 attempts in a man-of-the-match performance to finish with 66 points for the series.
“Owen has been absolutely terrific on tour. He’s kicked well, he’s played well, really good performance,” Jones said of Farrell. “His kicking is solar system class. He’s an absolutely outstanding goalkicker.”
Jones was reluctant to tag 25-year-old Farrell “world class” following his decisive contribution to England’s historic series triumph.
“You don’t become world class just like that, you’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to be at the top of your game for a long period of time,” he said.
“Being a top-class rugby player is about being consistent in your application and making good decisions and what he is doing is making a lot of good decisions.”
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Updated: June 26, 2016 04:00 AM