Forget the end of season holiday, England are getting serious about winning their three-Test series against the Wallabies.
England have a wretched record in Australia, winning just three Tests in 17 attempts Down Under.
This year’s series is the first time England have played a three-Test series in Australia and, crucially, the tour features no midweek matches against domestic opposition.
Prop Dan Cole, a veteran of the 2010 tour and the successful British and Irish Lions Tour in 2013, says the sole focus on Tests for this series has got English minds focused.
“Previously you have gone on a tour like this relaxed but, no, this one we’re working as hard as ever,” Cole said.
“32-man squad, you’re just focused on the Test matches and everyone’s competing for spaces.
“The atmosphere has probably been a bit different to other tours where you have a bigger squad, people are playing in midweek.
“This one everyone’s focused on one thing and Eddie (Jones) and the coaching staff want to win this series.”
Cole says just like the Lions tour, the series opener in Brisbane is of crucial importance.
The Lions won their tour opener at Suncorp Stadium three years ago and went on to claim the series 2-1.
Cole says that platform was vital.
“Okay we went to one-all, but you don’t want to be one-nil behind in the series,” he said.
“Obviously the first game is essential. Australia are traditionally very strong up in Brisbane, we know they’ve got a very good record there.”
The 29-year-old, capped 65 times, says former Wallabies coach Jones is clearly desperate to get one over his old team.
But he denies that has anything to do with his connections to Australian rugby.
“Coming to Australia he knows it’s a bigger challenge than what we’ve faced previously,” Cole said.
“The attitude and energy has probably gone up but it’s mainly because it needs to go up to face the bigger challenge rather than Eddie’s history and being Australian.”