England coach Eddie Jones believes Australia are the most improved side in the world but also accused the Wallabies of having an illegal scrum ahead of Saturday’s Test at Twickenham.
Jones declined to go into detail over his misgivings with the Australian scrum, but said he wants to meet referee Jaco Peyper early this week to tell him “that they do things illegally”.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika shrugged off Jones’ comments following their defeat in Ireland while Australian forward Dean Mumm said they would pay little attention to the noises emanating from the England camp as they look to Saturday’s Test.
England head into the match on a 13-match unbeaten run, one which included their 3-0 series triumph on Australian soil in June. Jones says that series victory counts for nothing ahead of this weekend’s match but has warned his players they will face a much-improved Australian side.
“What they’ve done throughout the Rugby Championship and then come on tour here, is quite brilliant, their attack’s become a lot more varied, their alignment is better in attack and defensively they’re making better decisions,” Jones said.
“Key players have come back — Will Genia at nine who I know very well is an outstanding player and at his best he was the world’s best half-back. He’s probably not quite there but he’s playing some really good rugby and really adds a solid influencing role in their team.
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“[Reece] Hodge has come in at 12, big strong lad with a big kick, he’s added a bit more go-forward to their backline. I’ve been real impressed with what they’ve done. It makes next week’s game so exciting.”
Jones said there were a number of bruised bodies in the wake of their 27-14 win over Argentina and may change their training week to allow players to recover for what could be a historic match against the Wallabies. If England beat Australia then they will match the 14-match unbeaten run set by Sir Clive Woodward’s 2003 vintage but Jones is paying little attention to records.
“The unbeaten record is a consequence of us playing well next week, so the only thing we can do next week is play well. So we don’t need to talk about records, we don’t need to think about them, all we need to think about is playing well.”
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