Australia vs England: Eddie Jones says rugby needs to find a ‘better balance’
|Venue: Sydney cricket ground Date: Saturday 16 July Kicking off: 10:55 CET|
|Cover: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.|
England manager Eddie Jones is ‘tired’ of stop-start rugby and says the sport needs ‘a better balance’.
He was speaking ahead of Saturday’s crucial third Test against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Jones said World Rugby was “doing its best”, the game had to be “safe” and the referees shouldn’t be blamed.
But he added: “The referees, players and coaches have to come together and say, ‘This is the game we want; this is the game the people want to see’.”
Jones hopes such a meeting will take place in the fall, as he believes an increased number of stoppages – including TV Match Official (TMO) intervention – is “definitely” the game’s biggest challenge.
“We have to protect the game, don’t get me wrong, but we have to rule out accidental head contact and that non-stop use of the TMO,” he said.
“We need to find a better balance in the game. We tried to play everything absolutely right, like it was a tennis game.
“Every decision has to be right, but we have to find our rhythm and the flow of the game again.”
The first two games of the Tour of England brought five yellow and one red card.
On the same day that the tourists leveled the series in Brisbane, New Zealand were twice temporarily reduced to 13 men against Ireland when Angus Ta’avao was sent off in a 15-minute break while Leicester Fainga’anuku and Ofa Tu’ ungafasi were sinful.
“I’ve had enough,” Jones said. “I never want to see a match like this again between New Zealand and Ireland where we don’t even know how many people are supposed to be on the field.
“Rugby, when it’s played at its best and we have the laws at the right level, we get that natural flow and rhythm in the game. But we don’t have him at the moment.
“World Rugby is doing our best but we just went too far.”
‘Here we go’
England striker coach Richard Cockerill expects Australia “to come with more physicality” for Saturday’s crucial Test – but has “no concerns” his side will do the same.
The tourists responded to a 30-28 loss in the opening test through win 25-17 in Brisbane.
“I expect Australia to come at us physically hard,” said Cockerill.
“They lost the physical fight early in the game last weekend and want to rectify that.
“You want rivalry, don’t you? You want spikeness in the games. The first 15-20 minutes on Saturday – let’s do it because that’s what it’s all about.
“We have two teams playing for the Test series, so we’ll both go for it.”
Australia captain Michael Hooper conceded that England did a “great job” in taking the lead early in last week’s game – and hopes to reverse that on Saturday.
“We have to come out of our end well,” he said. “If we can, we can use our set piece and end up at the other end of the field.
“We were able to endure a lot of pressure, coming back into games from behind. We want to turn that around – come out with good momentum and build it up and put those guys under pressure.”
How the teams line up
Australia: Hodge, Wright, Paisami, Kerevi, Koroibete, Lolesio, White, Valetini, Hooper (Captain), Wilson, Philip, Frost, Tupou, Porecki, Slipper.
Substitute: Fainga’a, Bell, Ala’alatoa, Leota, Samu, McDermott, Ikitau, Vunivalu.
England: Steward, Nowell, Porter, Farrell, Freeman, Smith, Care, B. Vunipola, Ludlam, Lawes (Captain), Hill, Chessum, Stuart, George, Genge.
Substitute: Cowan-Dickie, M Vunipola, Heyes, Isiekwe, Willis, Van Poortvliet, Joseph, Arundell.