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With the Wallabies camped out on the Gold Coast, England manager Eddie Jones was left to beat the drums for the Third Test in Sydney and in his own educated eye the buildup to a massive decider is not going too well.
“I was disappointed with the media coverage,” Jones said at a news conference to announce his team at his former home turf in Coogee Beach on Thursday.
“I try to watch the news every morning. And there is nothing at all about rugby. As someone who grew up with rugby here, it’s disappointing. We need rugby to be a strong sport and World Rugby needs Australia to be a strong rugby country.
“There’s always a battle with the NRL and the AFL, isn’t there? We know that. We need rugby to be a bit more prominent. So I think we are doing our part. I was a charity lunch today on my way out to train in the community tonight. We try to build the game – a 1-1 decider. There must be an equal effort from the other team as well.
Asked if the Wallabies, who were due to travel to the game later on Thursday, sticking to a strategy designed to mirror a World Cup travel plan, should have done more, Jones replied: “It’s not for me to judge. You can judge.
Jones is doing his best and he tapped into some big Australian themes as he considered a match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, in all likelihood the last time rugby will be played at the famous old ground.
“It’s a famous old ground and I have fond memories of going out and watching the Souths play, watching third year, midday, second year and then first year – the good old days of Souths and watching many Ashes Test series.
“I was there when [John] Knocked out snow [Terry] Jenner and there was obviously the little talk between fans and John Snow.
“And I was watching when Ian Chappell first came on as Australia captain. That’s how we want to play on Saturday, as Ian Chappell stepped onto the pitch and owned it. Play with a lot of purpose, play with a lot of energy, play together and we look forward to the challenge.
Jones met Chappell in the early 2000s. The cricketer was a famous hater of everything Pommie – particularly Ian Botham – so he’s an odd role model for the leader of an England touring team.
“The way he approached his teams, built his teams, built the strength of the relationship in the teams, being tough, is something that I have always admired in what he has done with the teams and I have always tried to do that with my teams,” Jones said.
This week at Coogee Oval and the surrounding suburbs, Jones brought in many old friends, including Wallabies great No 7 Simon Poidevin, who chatted with the England players.
“Young players don’t know who he is – they just see an old man with a dog. A pretty fit old man with a dog,” Jones joked.
“But he chatted with a couple of our players and we almost had a traditional Randwick BBQ yesterday. The only thing missing was the old beers.
” It was very fun. It was a very good week for the players. They trained hard, recovered well. Had a bit of Randwick club history.
“We have a group following that with myself at the club and training a bit with the young kids.
“We tried to get involved in the community and we feel good where we are. We are really looking forward to this game. »
Jones also reflected on the incredible State of Origin battle the night before and how his team would aim to achieve a level of fire similar to what the Blues and Maroons showed Suncorp.
“What I appreciated was the intensity with which they played,” he said. “It’s a classic, you have New South Wales, the strongest side who won the last game easily.
“They know what Queensland is going to bring. The whole narrative about the game is “Queensland are underdogs”. But that’s when they are at their best – 50,000 Queenslanders full of XXXX, cheering.
“If it forms, New South Wales wins. But it’s the great thing about the sport that you have this Queensland team missing Munster, missing Tualagi. We are missing a Tualagi, we are missing a Munster, the equivalent is Maro Itoje.
“We are in this similar situation of whether we can find the right balance between aggression and control. Being fierce and calm is a challenge for us. We have a young and inexperienced team, but it’s a big challenge and a great opportunity.