Australia v England: Eddie Jones says rugby needs to find a ‘better balance’
|Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground Date: Saturday, 16 July Kick-off: 10:55 BST|
|Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.|
England coach Eddie Jones has “had enough” of stop-start rugby and says the sport needs “a better balance”.
He was speaking in the build-up to Saturday’s decisive third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Jones said World Rugby was “doing its best”, the game had to be “safe” and referees should not be blamed.
But he added: “The referees, players and coaches need to get together and say: ‘This is the game we want; this is the game the people want to see’.”
Jones hopes such a meeting will take place in the autumn as he believes an increased number of stoppages – including interventions from the television match official (TMO) – is “definitely” the game’s biggest challenge.
“We’ve got to keep the game safe, don’t get me wrong, but accidental head contact and this incessant use of the TMO, we’ve got to cut that out,” he said.
“We’ve got to get a better balance in the game. We’ve gone to trying to play everything absolutely right like it’s a tennis game.
“Every decision has to be right, but we need to get back to having a rhythm and a flow in the game.”
The first two matches of England’s tour of Australia produced five yellow cards and one red.
On the same day the tourists were levelling the series in Brisbane, New Zealand were twice temporarily reduced to 13 men against Ireland as Angus Ta’avao was sent off in a 15-minute spell during which Leicester Fainga’anuku and Ofa Tu’ungafasi were sin-binned.
“I’ve had enough,” said Jones. “I don’t want to see a New Zealand-Ireland game like that ever again, where we don’t even know how many people are supposed to be on the field.
“Rugby, when it’s played at its best and we have the laws at the right level, we get that natural flow and rhythm in the game. But we don’t have it at the moment.
“World Rugby is doing its best but we’ve just gone too far down one road.”
‘Let’s bring it on’
England forwards coach Richard Cockerill expects Australia to “come with more physicality” for Saturday’s deciding Test – but has “no qualms” his side will do likewise.
The tourists responded to a 30-28 defeat in the opening Test by winning 25-17 in Brisbane.
“I expect Australia to come hard physically at us,” said Cockerill.
“They lost the physical battle early in the game last weekend and they’ll want to put that right.
“You want rivalry don’t you? You want spikiness to games. The first 15-20 minutes on Saturday – let’s bring it on because that’s what it’s all about.
“We have got two teams who are playing for the Test series so we are both going to be going at it.”
Australia captain Michael Hooper acknowledged England did a “great job” by getting on top early in last week’s game – and hopes to reverse that on Saturday.
“We’ve got to get out of our end well,” he said. “If we can, we can get an opportunity to utilise our set-piece and get down the other end of the field.
“We’ve been able to sustain a lot of pressure, come back into the games from being behind. We want to flip that – to come out with good momentum and stack it on and put these guys under pressure.”
How the teams line up
Australia: Hodge, Wright, Paisami, Kerevi, Koroibete, Lolesio, White, Valetini, Hooper (capt), Wilson, Philip, Frost, Tupou, Porecki, Slipper.
Replacements: Fainga’a, Bell, Ala’alatoa, Leota, Samu, McDermott, Ikitau, Vunivalu.
England: Steward, Nowell, Porter, Farrell, Freeman, Smith, Care, B Vunipola, Ludlam, Lawes (capt), Hill, Chessum, Stuart, George, Genge.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, M Vunipola, Heyes, Isiekwe, Willis, Van Poortvliet, Joseph, Arundell.