Eddie Jones arrived with the stated intention of wanting to take his side to no.1 in the world, and on current form, you’d have to think they’re the team most likely to knock the All Blacks from their long-held and comfortable perch. Image: ABC Grandstand
The Roar: From the outset of their tour, and even before they’d arrived, Eddie Jones made no secret that he wanted to leave Australian shores with the Cook Cup under his arm. The English Rose on his chest has been as prominent on this tour as has the smile on his face, and with the cup retained, it’s hard to know which is shining more.
Jones has united England rugby when they were standing on shaky ground, and has completed a remarkable turnaround with largely the same playing group. He’s united the playing group, furthermore, and has them on a track in which they firmly believe they can beat anyone.
England no.8 Billy Vunipola celebrates their Cook Cup series win, after they won the Second Test 23-7 in Melbourne. Image via Wallabies Facebook
The Roar: There’s no escaping the obvious, England’s Cook Cup sealing Second Test win over the Wallabies in Melbourne was as complete as it was clinical.
Eddie Jones brought his squad to Australia with the express intention of winning the series, and they’ve done that with a week to spare. In doing so – England’s first ever three-Test series win – they’ve climbed to no.2 in the World Rugby rankings, while the Wallabies have slipped to third.
And this might be clutching at straws – it almost certainly is, in hindsight – but it could actually be a good thing…
Melbourne Rebels flanker Sean McMahon has been entrusted to fill David Pocock’s no.8 role for the Wallabies in the 2nd Test. No, he’s not started there before… Image via Wallabies Facebook.
Rugby News (Australia): The moment last weekend David Pocock was ruled out for the rest of the Cook Cup series, the hottest question in Australian rugby has been, “who will ‘Cheik’ pick?”
With specialist No.8s Ben McCalman and Wycliff Palu in the Wallabies squad already, they loomed as the obvious replacement for Pocock at the back of the Wallabies scrum for the must-win Second Test in Melbourne. If the Wallabies were to force the series into a decider in Sydney, then surely the Australian pack needed to fight English physicality with fire.
The ‘Pooper’ experiment might have reached its use-by date, so surely it was time to go back to the tried and tested.
No, Siree, Bob. And I don’t mean Mr Dwyer.
England coach Eddie Jones has thrown down a defensive gauntlet to the Wallabies ahead of the 2nd Test in Melbourne. Image: ABC Grandstand
The Roar: The first weekend of international rugby down this neck of the woods has resulted in two results that two countries were kind of dreading.
But if anything, the Wallabies and Springboks’ losses have really added some spice to this second weekend of Tests; try and imagine the build-up if England and Ireland were touched up last weekend.
As a result, the anticipation for the Tests in Melbourne and Johannesburg is far more pronounced, which will, in turn, be matched by the level of nervousness of the respective supporters.
It’s another big weekend of international rugby, and here are the talking points for the weekend’s fixtures.