Eddie Jones will send England out against Australia with orders to “break them mentally and physically” in Saturday’s climax to the autumn at Twickenham.
And in a week dominated by the phoney war waged by Jones and Michael Cheika, England’s Grand Slam-winning head coach aimed a final verbal blow at his “machine-gun” wielding former Randwick team-mate.
Cheika has accused Jones of manufacturing a “chip on his shoulder” and tainting the legacy he established in his homeland as a former Wallabies coach, while also claiming prop Dan Cole has been scrummaging illegally for his entire career.
The hostility has provided the backdrop to England’s attempt to register their first unblemished year since 1992 and Jones insists his team is ready to secure a fourth successive victory over Australia.
“Michael’s upset so he’s got his machine gun out, he’s firing away at different sorts of people. We’ve just focussed on our preparation, getting on with it,” Jones said.
“It certainly hasn’t had an impact on us. It’s probably drawn us tighter together. The players are upset about the comments about Dan Cole - in a positive way.
“We respect each of our team-mates and we respect Australia as a team. You know, to single out a player is maybe not the right thing to do.
“To beat Australia we’ve got to break them mentally and physically. We know they’re going to come out in the first 20 minutes like there’s no tomorrow. We’ve got expectation, we want to play well. There’s always anxiety involved in expectation but that’s good anxiety.
“The players are sharp and on it. They want this game, it’s a big game for us. We’ve prepared well so we’re ready to go.
“We’ve practised, we’re equipped to handle it and we’ll win the game in the last 20.
“They have players who like to throw themselves around quite a bit. It’s going to be a game for young and old.”
When asked if he would meet Cheika after Saturday’s climax to the autumn series, Jones said: “Handshakes, cold beers, all friends at the end? It might be warm beers, cold pies. We’ll see.”
England’s 3-0 series whitewash of the Wallabies in June included a bad tempered second Test in Melbourne and lock George Kruis is braced for more of the same at Twickenham.
“There was a lot of niggle throughout that series and I think they were probably left with a bitter taste, so they will be flying,” Kruis said.
“This is Australia’s last game. They are going to leave everything out there. But we will give as good as we get.
“That was something we talked about before the summer series - an understanding that we had got to get to their key players.
“I think the evidence was on the field. There was a hard-fought battle and a lot of injuries within the three Tests. It was definitely a physical contest.
Meanwhile Eddie Jones earlier suggested Michael Cheika has been disrespectful of rugby as the rivals’ war of words intensified ahead of the Twickenham showdown.
Cheika has claimed his old Randwick team-mate has manufactured a “chip on his shoulder” and has tainted the legacy he established in his homeland as a former Wallabies coach.
And, having adopted a dignified silence throughout Australia’s series whitewash by England in June, Cheika continued his attack by stating he would struggle to coach any other international team.
On the eve of England’s bid to register a record-equalling 14th successive Test victory, Jones hit back.
“It doesn’t worry me at all. If Cheika chooses to say that, then it’s his choice,” Jones said of his compatriot.
“Everyone makes a choice in life about what they say and how they behave. If that’s how he wants to behave, that’s entirely up to him.”
M Brown (Harlequins); M Yarde (Harlequins), J Joseph (Bath), O Farrell (Saracens), J May (Gloucester); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); M Vunipola (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton, capt), D Cole (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), G Kruis (Saracens), C Robshaw (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton), N Hughes (Wasps).
J George (Saracens), J Marler (Harlequins), K Sinckler (Harlequins), C Ewels (Bath), T Harrison (Northampton), D Care (Harlequins), B Te’o (Worcester), H Slade (Exeter).
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