Jones gets help from NRL legend

11:11 AM GMT

SYDNEY, Australia — Eddie Jones drafted in Australia rugby league great Andrew Johns to pass on some advice to the England backs in Monday’s training session at the Coogee Oval as they chase the series clean sweep this weekend.

Johns, who is regarded as one of the world’s finest ever rugby league halfbacks, played in 23 State of Origin series for New South Wales and retired from the 13-man code in 2007. Jones said the two had been in conversation for a while over using the rugby league great at some juncture in the tour and Johns’ remit was focusing on the “precise details of attacking”.

“I have always admired his skills as a player,” Jones said of the eighth ‘Immortal’. “He has got a lot of knowledge, a lot he can teach people and we have been chatting for a while about the possibility of him coming in and doing a little bit of work. Today was the ideal day when we had quite a downtime in training.”


Jones has already drafted in former Wallaby Glen Ella to help the backs and Johns was working especially closely with England’s two fly-halves.

“Those guys, like Andrew Johns, they touch the ball or did touch the ball 50 or 60 times in a game,” Jones said. “They had to fix defenders, know when to drift, know when to be straight, know when to take a certain line, how you use your eyes, where you position your hands.

“For those guys to have that lesson this afternoon is invaluable. They will remember it for the rest of their lives.” Jones said the England players’ recovery has been “surprisingly good” since the weekend’s second Test in Melbourne but they are still monitoring Jack Nowell and James Haskell’s fitness ahead of Saturday’s third match in Sydney.

Nowell picked up a mild concussion has passed the first stages of the return-to-play protocols while the decision to rest Haskell from training was precautionary as he continues his comeback from a foot injury. Jones added of Haskell: “He hasn’t trained much over the last couple of weeks but he has an amazing capacity to absorb pain so he is still in contention for the weekend.”

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