AP – Wallabies you’ve been warned: Eddie Jones says he’ll pick an England squad to tour Australia that’s equipped to “play Bodyline”.
Never short of a colourful quote, Jones was in particularly good form as he prepared newly-crowned Six Nations champions England’s bid to complete a grand slam with victory over France in Paris on Saturday.
Insisting he would get that game out of the way before considering selection for the three-Test to Australia in June, the former Wallabies mentor couldn’t resist a provocative dig he knew would garner attention Down Under.
“We’ve got to take a side down there to play Bodyline,” said Jones, referencing the infamous 1932-33 Ashes series.
“If we’re going to beat Australia in Australia, we’ve got to have a completely physical, aggressive team.”
Lauded for rebooting an England squad that crashed out of last year’s home World Cup in the pool stage, Jones was clearly relishing his success and keen for more as England seek a first grand slam since 2003.
“The history is fantastic,” said Jones.
“England have been playing rugby since 1871 – that’s 100 years after Captain Cook arrived in Australia – and England have only won 12 grand slams.
“So only 12 times have England been able to say that, conclusively, we’re the best team in Europe. That’s what the grand slam gives you the chance to do.
“No-one can debate that and that’s a fantastic opportunity. It’s like when the Australians and New Zealanders come over and do the grand slam here. If you beat everyone in Europe, it’s a great achievement.
“It’s a good week for us – where we can really prove ourselves to be a side that’s changed. That’s the opportunity for us.
“That’s what we want to do – show everyone in Europe that England has changed its rugby. Beating France in Paris will be a big statement in doing that.
“But I can’t say I’d be satisfied there. I’ll be satisfied when England become the number one team in the world – that’s the whole aim of coming here.
“The Six Nations title is a nice little step for us. It’s nice to get a trophy for the cabinet, but we have bigger fish to fry and the first one is the grand slam on Saturday.”
England celebrated being crowned champions for the first time since 2011 by reflecting over a few drinks in the hotel bar at their Surrey training camp.
Jones took the opportunity to consult those players involved in the final-day grand slam failures of 2011 and 2013 over the potential pitfalls.
“I asked them if there was anything we could learn,” Jones said.
“The underlying thought is that you can’t underestimate an opposition team in Test match rugby.
“France are a proud country. Guy Noves is proud to be coaching them – he has one of the best domestic records in European rugby.
“He promised the public they would be going back to French rugby. They have no reasonability on Saturday. They can play with freedom and flair, which makes them dangerous. We must be right for the game, we must crush them with intensity.”