England coach Eddie Jones looking to ‘light rugby up’ in Australia series finale

The series is locked at 1-1 heading into Saturday’s showdown in Sydney.

By Press Association Published: 14 July 2022 - 9.25am

Eddie Jones insists England are inspired to follow the example set by an epic State of Origin decider by putting on a display against Australia on Saturday that will “light rugby up”.

Jones has made three changes for the decisive third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, choosing Danny Care instead of Jack van Poortvliet at scrum-half and starting lock Ollie Chessum and flanker Lewis Ludlam in place of the injured Maro Itoje and Sam Underhill.

All of England’s touring party gathered on Wednesday to watch Queensland edge New South Wales in a brutal but thrilling State of Origin clash that left a major impression.

“It is great for rugby that we have a decider. We saw how big the decider was in State of Origin and how it has captivated fans,” Jones said.

“We want to put on a show of a similar ilk against Australia, a really good tough game of rugby played at a historic ground and light rugby up a bit.

“It’s whether we can find that right balance of aggression and control and being fierce and being calm.”

“It is great for rugby that we have a decider.”
- Eddie Jones

England will play at the SCG for only the second time – they lost 16-9 in 1975 – in what is likely to be the last Test staged at the birthplace of the Wallabies.

Jones, a keen cricket fan, grew up in nearby Randwick and he delved into the memory banks to conjure an image of his team entering the field with the same swagger shown by former Australia captain Ian Chappell.

“This is the chance for us to even the ledger at the famous old ground. I’ve got great memories going out and watching Souths play and watching many an Ashes Test series there,” Jones said.

“I was there when John Snow knocked out Terry Jenner and there was a bit of discourse going on between the fans and John Snow. And I was watching when Ian Chappell strode on the first time as Australia captain.

“That’s how we want to play on Saturday, like Ian Chappell did – walk on to the field, own it and play with plenty of purpose and plenty of energy. Play together.

“I have met Ian Chappell. The way he approached his teams, building the strength of the relationships and being tough are things I always admired and I’ve tried to do with my teams.”

The Sydney Cricket Ground
The Sydney Cricket Ground plays host to this weekend’s decider (Jason O’Brien/PA)

Van Poortvliet was outstanding on his full debut at Suncorp Stadium but Jones explained that the 21-year-old has lost out to Care’s ability to play at a higher tempo.

“Paul Williams is the referee and he’s very hard on the tackler rolling away. We feel there will be some quick ball at the start of the game that Danny can take advantage,” Jones said.

England stand one victory away from repeating their series triumph on these shores of six years ago and Jones seized the opportunity to take a swipe at the team he coached from 2001 to 2005, making a pointed reference to the Wallabies basing themselves on the Gold Coast rather than staying in the host cities.

Australia England Rugby
England and Australia will do battle in Sydney this weekend (Tertius Pickard/AP)

“I’ve been disappointed in the media coverage. I’ve tried to watch the news every morning and there’s nothing on it about rugby at all. As a person who grew up with rugby here that’s disappointing,” he said.

“We need rugby to be a strong sport and World Rugby needs Australia to be a strong rugby country. There’s always going to be a battle with NRL and AFL, we know that, but we need rugby to be a bit more prominent.

“We’ve been doing our bit. I was at a charity lunch today (Thursday) and we’re going out to coach the communities tonight. We’re trying to build the game up – it’s a 1-1 decider. But there needs to be equal effort from the other team too.”

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