Larkham lays into 'spoilt' England

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 18:12

REACTION: Australia did their best to turn the tables on an England side coached by Eddie Jones ahead of Saturday's clash at Twickenham by insisting their rivals are "spoilt" and tackle late.

Jones rarely averse to a verbal barb or two was in respectful mood ahead of this latest clash against his native Australia, having won all four of the Tests that England have played against the Wallabies since taking over as Red Rose coach following the 2015 World Cup.

But Australia decided to 'get their retaliation in first', with assistant coach Stephen Larkham saying the vast wealth of England's Rugby Football Union meant there were no excuses for Jones.

To be fair to the former Australia and Japan coach, England have won 20 out of 21 Tests since Jones took over after a 2015 World Cup where a defeat by the Wallabies 

at Twickenham condemned the Red Rose brigade to a first-round exit.
  
"If you look at the resources they have over here, he's probably a little bit spoilt from where he's come from," said Larkham, who won dozens of Wallaby caps under Jones.

"There's always going to be pressure when you've got pretty much unlimited resources around you," the former playmaker added.

"Their facilities at Pennyhill Park are pretty phenomenal and then just the amount of staff they can have - consultants coming in, squad sizes, players to choose from and support from the RFU.

"Pressure comes with that, doesn't it? When you've got all those resources and you've had the record you've had, that's the expectation. That's where the pressure comes from."

Meanwhile, Australia coach Michael Cheika, who played alongside Jones at Sydney club Randwick, suggested recent encounters had seen England deliberately late- tackling the Wallaby halfbacks.  

"They try to bully us at scrum, at the line-out and at the ruck - trying to get into us, niggle, trying to get into our halfback after he passes, the 10 after he passes," Cheika said after announcing his side on Thursday.

"There is so much footage of that. They wait for us to crack. The fact they are unified behind that strategy means we must look them in the eye and take them on if we are going to be able to resist them."

Cheika named an unchanged starting XV to take on England but then admitted he had a doubt over the fitness of star lock Adam Coleman.

The impressive second row suffered a thumb injury during Australia's 29-21 win over Wales in Cardiff last week, calling into question his place in the side for Saturday's match at Twickenham.

"He is not 100 percent," Cheika said of Coleman. "I would be lying if said he was 100 and you know I never lie. 

"We would not pick him if we did not think he could do his job. He is a tough lad."

Back-row forward Michael Hooper will captain an Australia side in which prop Sekope Kepu is set to win his 90th cap.

Former skipper and seasoned hooker Stephen Moore - due to retire from Test rugby at the end of the tour - could become the seventh-most capped player of all time with 128 if he comes off the bench.

Agence France-Presse