Australia are 'best in the world' says Jones

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:58

REACTION: Eddie Jones wants a big performance from Owen Farrell on Saturday when England face an Australia side he labelled the "best in the world at the moment."

Farrell was rested as England launched their November campaign with a 21-8 win over Argentina at Twickenham last weekend.

But the British and Irish Lion has returned against the in-form Wallabies in place of Henry Slade, who is on the bench.

"He [Farrell] is a very experienced international player, he's a good defender, a good communicator in attack - he's a good player," said Jones.

"He's been nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year, that's a testament to his ability."

England have won 20 of their 21 Tests under Jones, with the lone loss against Ireland in Dublin in March - a reverse that cost England a second straight Six Nations Grand Slam.

England were not at their best last week, but Jones felt criticism of the performance against the Pumas was excessive. 

"It seems like since we had an 'ordinary' game against Argentina, the whole place has exploded," he said.

Meanwhile, Jones, Australia's coach when they lost the 2003 World Cup Final to England in Sydney, warned that the Wallabies would be tough to beat.

"We'll get stuck into Australia," he said. "There's no choice. They've got back into international rugby and got on the front foot. They’ve got a big forward pack, big backs. Their backs are as big as their forwards."

Australia beat Wales 29-21 in Cardiff last weekend and world champions New Zealand 23-18 in Brisbane last month.

"They’re the form team." Jones insisted. "They’ve beaten New Zealand and had two draws with South Africa, beaten Argentina and beaten quite an impressive Wales side at the weekend, so they’re doing well."

Jones paid tribute to the work of Australia coach Michael Cheika, once his teammate at Sydney club Randwick. 

"He's done a great job, has rebuilt the side twice – first before the World Cup and now after the World Cup.

"He's got them playing that physical, juggernaut type of game. They're a hard side to beat," Jones said.

Two years ahead of the 2019 World Cup in Japan, Jones said he was not overly-concerned with England's style of play.

"Our job is to play good English rugby and to beat Australia," explained Jones, also a former Japan coach.

"There might be 80 000 there [at Twickenham] and there might be 40 000 who find it entertaining and 40 000 that don't."

"Our job is to win and play good rugby."  

Australia knocked tournament hosts England out of the last World Cup with a 33-13 win at Twickenham in 2015 - a result that cost coach Stuart Lancaster his job and saw Jones brought in.

Since then, Jones has overseen four successive England wins against his native Australia, including a 3-0 series success 'Down Under' last year.

"Their team has changed a little bit - of the team we played against last year, probably six or seven of those players were there," said Jones.

Nevertheless, he continued: "They’ll have a bit of an itch in the back of their head. 

"When the game gets tighter, their memory will go back to those precious games. So that's an advantage for us, that itch in the back of their head."

Agence France-Presse