I like Eddie Jones. He is pretty straight talking and my goodness he certainly gives some cracking quotes. The team he has picked for England’s first big test since he took over makes sense and appears to be pretty tactical with a physical and abrasive group of guys picked to do a certain job. I am pretty sure it is all part of an Eddie Masterplan which the crafty Tasmanian has been hatching with his lieutenants to beat the Aussies! It may not come off but I am pretty sure there will BE a plan and the players will know exactly what they need to do..
The team is no doubt stronger that the one that lost badly to the green & gold Wallabies in our home World Cup. As a passionate Englishman that did hurt quite a bit when we were not quite good enough on the day. I like the look of our pack now which has benefitted from having guys like Dylan and Biily V back in plus the phenomenon that is Maro Itoje can only improve any side he plays in! In fact he could probably go on and score the winning goal in France and open the bowling at Lords!
I can see as well an improvement in the players mindset and Eddie seems to have toughened them up and given the forwards, in particular, some real steel. A bit disappointed not to see the young Cornishman Jack Nowell starting but he is on the bench so Eddie has the option to getting him on early if he needs to. The pack picks itself with a lovely chance after half time to get the big guy Joe Launchbury on and move Super Maro to 6.
Playing in Australia is – how can I put this – not for the faint hearted.... The fans are direct and will have no problem telling you to your face what they think of you. Although Rugby Union is not the biggest sport down there it is still Australia v England and every full blooded Australian is all over that. However I think we have a good chance of winning in Brisbane and then that should fire up the lads to go all out at Melbourne to possibly win the series before they collapse with fatigue by Sydney!
Wales however have it much, much tougher. My view however is as a player you do actually want these games. The All Blacks in New Zealand? Yes please. I know Wales had a pretty bad run out against England at Twickenham but I know from experience when you are off on a major tour there is always a small bit that you hold back as the fear of injury in a ‘friendly’ before you get on the plane is every players worst dream. So I expect them to be better out there and if they can run the All Blacks close sadly for the Northern Hemisphere that will be a victory of sorts.
So it is up early tomorrow – massive cooked breakfast with the kids, sort out the chores and then I am hitting the sofa. See you there.