Eddie Jones is in a pretty envious position. He has just seen his England side put a very good Wallabies team to the sword on Saturday in what were dreadful conditions.
Although the game was incredibly tight up until the final quarter and the Wallabies may feel hard done by with some of the refereeing decisions, the way England put the foot on the throat in the final 20 minutes must be incredibly pleasing.
They now go into their final November Test match against Samoa knowing that they are undoubtedly the second best team in the world and that they have the opportunity to further experiment with their squad.
We’re nearly sick of saying it, but everything that Jones is doing right now is aimed towards the World Cup and one of the main question marks raised in this regard since the beginning of the season was whether Dylan Hartley would be the man to lead the Red Rose in Japan.
Well, after another convincing performance on Saturday, the answer to that question looks to be shifting to the affirmative, especially when you take a look at the comments Jones made after the game.
“Dylan was outstanding. His captaincy was first-class. He’s moving from being a good captain to being a better captain,” Jones said, according to Sky Sports.
“He manages the referee well, manages the team well. He’s got a good demeanour about him with the referee.
The “moving from being a good captain to being a better captain” remark is certainly telling and it seems to be the case that the captaincy and ultimately the starting two shirt is Hartley’s to lose. It must be frustrating for Jamie George to be behind in the pecking order when you consider he started all three Lions Tests against the All Blacks during the summer.
“He appreciates the opportunity of what he’s doing at the moment and he’s only going to grow as a captain.”
Nevertheless, the onus is on George to change Jones’ thinking but it’s looking increasingly unlikely that this will occur due to the form of the Northampton Saints’ skipper.