Eddie Jones takes his England side to his homeland with every intention of shredding the Wallabies
Summer rugby tours are a real treat for fans in the northern hemisphere. Domestic and European leagues are reaching their ever climactic conclusions and fans normally face a summer without their rugby heroes to cheer on.
This year however, fans are spoiled for choice. The Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro sees Rugby Sevens become part of the Olympic spectacle for the first time. The high speed, bombastic on-field play married with the carnival style atmosphere that comes with Sevens will surely see it become an instant fan favourite at this year’s Games.
Prior to the Rio Games, fans can look forward to summer tours by the rugby home nations of England, Wales and Ireland. All are headed south to face the big three of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa respectively.
For Eddie Jones, current head coach of the newly crowned, Grand Slam winning Six Nations champions England, the tour of Australia has some added spice. A native of the land down under, he now brings the enemy to Australian shores.
Jones has been a revelation in England. Assuming control of a broken and battered side that crashed out in the pool stages of last year’s Rugby World Cup, Jones has restored England’s bullish and arrogant swagger.
Full of confidence and hungry once again, England laid waste to all that stood before them in the spring, scything their way through opponents to claim a well-deserved Grand Slam and first Six Nations title since 2011.
Not a man to sit back and bask in the success of his achievements, Jones has instead begun preparations for the summer tour. Always the straight talker, the England coach immediately stated that he would be making changes, that none of his Grand Slam winners were safe.
Having reinvigorated the squad with self-confidence before the Six Nations, he now challenged them all to step up further and prove themselves once again. There would be no easy ride to Australia.
The competitive culture Jones has promoted has seen the re-emergence of Billy Vunipola, the reformation of Dylan Hartley and the announcement of Maro Itoje to the world. Even ex-England captain, Chris Robshaw, has thrived under Jones, a credit to both men following the derision the former received following the World Cup fiasco.
Jones recently stoked the fires once more, by announcing he would not be singing the Australian national anthem before the test matches with the Wallabies. Instead he would be signing ‘God Save Our Queen’. In what seemed like an intentional effort to rile the home fans and media, Jones has further invigorated and inspired the Red Rose to stick it to the home team.
Jones is under no illusions about the summer tour. It will not be easy. Australia are an awesome side. With their players fully fit and match ready due to the ongoing Super Rugby series, England will have to bring their A game and then some in order to come away with a series victory.
You cannot help but feel however that Jones has tapped into the fundamentals of the England Rugby psyche. That old colonial sense of superiority might drive other nations crazy but for England it is a powerful weapon. It empowers them, lets them perform to their core strengths, lessening their weaknesses.
The 2016 Six Nations gave the world a glimpse of the England of the future. There lies in the England camp a potential now to be world beaters. Strong, fast, agile, capable, unstoppable; Australia best beware. The Red Rose has regrown its thorns and if the Wallabies are not careful, they could well be ripped to shreds next month.
The first test of the series kicks off in Brisbane on 11 June.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
Heineken Rugby Club celebrates and rewards real supporters who make the game what it is.
Read More About: billy vunipola, chris robshaw. Rugby news, dylan hartley, eddie jones, England summer tour, england v australia, Grand Slam, IRFU, Maro Itoje, rfu, rugby union, Six Nations, summer tour, super rugby, Top Story, wru