‘I loved that game’: Eddie Jones revels in England’s Brisbane win
Eddie Jones revelled in silencing Australia’s goading supporters after England levelled the series with a hard-fought second Test victory to set up a decider in Sydney next week. Jones revealed that Wallabies fans had warned him that his side would get “belted” in Brisbane – where Australia had won their previous 10 matches – and took great delight in shutting them up.
Jones did, however, reveal that England will be without Maro Itoje for the third Test after the Saracens lock suffered a nasty-looking concussion towards the end of the first half while Sam Underhill is also doubtful after sustaining a head injury. Nonetheless, England will head to Sydney buoyant after 20 points from the man-of-the-match, Owen Farrell, and an early Billy Vunipola try were enough to atone for their first Test defeat in Perth.
“I loved that game at Suncorp,” said Jones. “That is a good experience. You have got 48,000 people all full of drink and all they want to see is their team win. When you turn them away, it is a great experience. A great feeling.
“I was coming out from the coaches’ box and they all have their scarves on. When did Australians start wearing scarves? It is all the rage isn’t it? They are not so smart now. Before the game they are coming up saying to me: ‘You are going to get belted tonight.’ Now they are a little bit more quiet. So that’s good. I enjoy that.”
The victory means Jones has won all seven of his international Tests at the Suncorp Stadium – five with Australia and two with England. He was under increasing pressure to deliver with England arriving in Brisbane on a run of four straight defeats and he came under further fire for describing the second Test as practice for the World Cup next year.
“I think it is fantastic,” he added. “I love my mother ringing me up in the morning saying: ‘Are you going to get sacked? Are you going to get sacked? When do you have to move? Are you going to come back to Australia? Come back and live in Randwick.’ I love that. My poor mother. But I don’t mind it because I have made the choice to take the job and that’s always going to happen because there’s an infatuation with sacking coaches now, isn’t there?
“It’s 1-1. And the pressure’s on the other mob now. So they’ve got to deal with that pressure. We’ll find ways of getting better. We’re a very young, inexperienced team. It takes time to put things together, and we’ll be more cohesive next week.”
England raced into a 19-0 lead after a furious start at the Suncorp Stadium before weathering an Australia fightback after Itoje had been withdrawn as a result of a collision with Hunter Paisami. Underhill followed in the second half but Australia also have their injury problems, with Jordan Petaia, Caderyn Neville, Izaia Perese and Scott Sio all going down. “The medical situation with Maro is that he won’t be available next week,” said Jones. “Underhill, we are still assessing, through all the protocols.”
Jones gave debuts to Guy Porter at outside-centre and Tommy Freeman on the wing while Jack van Poortvliet was given a first start at scrum-half. All three performed admirably but Jones reserved special praise for Farrell, who arrived in Australia “very unhappy” at losing the captaincy and missed costly kicks in Perth. “Owen is Owen,” added Jones. “He never changes, hates the world, best competitor I’ve ever coached. That includes George Gregan. He fights hard, loves the battle, drives standards. He’s an incredible player.”