Eddie Jones has elaborated on his “Bodyline” quip, saying it is a statement of how England have to do things differently if they are to beat the Wallabies in this month’s three-Test series.
The hype around the series-opening clash at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Saturday is in no small part thanks to former Australian mentor Jones’ involvement as English coach, and his quick-witted jabs at the Wallabies and his good mate Michael Cheika.
The one that has caught on was Jones’ declaration that England would “play Bodyline”, referencing the 1932-33 Ashes cricket series which crystalised the sporting rivalry between the two nations.
Many of the English players were too young to understand it, prompting Jones to show the team clips of the series to underline his point – to disrupt a dominant Australian side, they can’t let them play on their terms.
“We’re going to play Bodyline rugby, and we’ll see how it translates on Saturday night,” he said.
“It’s a figure of speech. The whole thing is, we’ve got to do something different here.
“We can’t do what’s been done for previous English teams, we’ve got to have a different mindset, a different way of how we play the game against Australia to change history.
“We’ve got that opportunity on Saturday night. It would be massive.
“It would make everyone in the world stand up and say, ‘maybe England are doing something different now.'”
Despite his bravado, Jones played up England’s underdog status and said he expects his team may learn some harsh lessons over the course of the next three weeks.
While they have come a long way from their embarrassing World Cup exit last year to clinch a Six Nations grand slam, Jones believes they still have a long way to go.
“Our target’s to win this series but our target’s to be the number one team in the world,” Jones said.
“Look at the Australian side – Cheika’s had them for 18 months more than I’ve had the (English) team.
“They should be ahead of us, they’ve got players with more experience, more combinations together – they’ve got all those advantages.
“We’re trailing them in terms of development but what we’ve got to have are players that want to continually learn and get better.”