Bagshot – England head coach Eddie Jones on
Monday challenged his Grand Slam-winning players to “rewrite history”
and become the first England team to win a Test series in Australia.
But the former Wallabies head coach also
issued a warning to his Paris heroes that no-one is guaranteed a place on board
the flight in June unless “they carry on improving and are mentally ready
for the next step up”.
Jones has fixed his ambitious sights on
developing the team he guided to England’s first Six Nations clean sweep in 13
years into a force capable of upsetting Australia in their own back yard in
Celebrations following Saturday’s Grand
Slam-sealing victory over France quickly came to an end as England’s players
returned to their clubs for the final months of the season before contemplating
the clashes with the Wallabies.
It will be the first time the two nations
have done battle in a three-Test series in Australia and Jones, who was
Wallabies head coach between 2001 and 2005, knows all too well the enormity of
the task ahead.
England have won just three of the 17 Tests
played there between the sides, one of which was the 2003 World Cup final, and
have generally had a miserable time of it Down Under.
“Perhaps it’s time to improve on that
record. It’s time to make the history books look a little better!” said
Jones, whose side face Michael Cheika’s men in Tests to be held in Brisbane,
Melbourne and Sydney.
“If I didn’t think it was possible to
take a squad of players over to Australia and win a series, I shouldn’t be
coaching the national side. There will be no excuses. We have so many fine
players to choose from.
“It just comes down to whether we have
enough desire and talent to do it. And I can assure you we certainly do have
He added: “To win a Grand Slam must
just be the start. To keep improving is now the big challenge ahead. Why do you
think New Zealand were able to come back from what happened in 2007 to win two
World Cups in eight years?
“Because the likes of Richie McCaw and
the rest wanted to keep improving and they did.
“The players have gone back to their
clubs and if I was one of them I’d be so excited about the prospect of playing
some crucial games for their clubs with the chance of proving they deserve to
be on the plane to Australia for a fantastic Test tour.
“But no-one is guaranteed a place in
the squad. There are 15 places up for grabs in the team. They have done well in
the Six Nations, but they must now continue improving as players.”
Jones intends to take “32 or 33”
players to face the Wallabies, declaring that he is still on the lookout for
“new guys to come in and liven up the squad” between now and the end
He is relishing the months ahead and says
that friends back home are taking a keen interest in England’s progress.
“I’ve had some texts and emails from
back in Australia that have been, let’s say, quite interesting,” he
“But seriously, people there are happy
that England are doing well again and heading in the right direction. World
rugby is better off for having a strong England team.
“The one thing I do know is Australia
go into every contest expecting to win. So I expect the same with this England
Jones intends to retain the help of Jonny
Wilkinson as kicking coach, meaning that the man whose drop-goal won England
the 2003 World Cup could be persuaded to accompany the squad on the plane to