Win, lose or draw their first-ever three-Test rugby series against Australia, Nick Farr-Jones is convinced England have the perfect coach in Eddie Jones.
While Jones fell tantalisingly close to steering Australia to World Cup glory, the wily mentor has shown somewhat of a Midas touch with South Africa, Japan and now in his brief time with England.
Even after taking the Wallabies to extra time in the 2003 final in Sydney – ironically an epic decider in which the English ultimately broke Australian hearts – Jones was criticised for robbing his charges of their attacking instincts.
But it is that very structured, even robotic, coaching style that Farr-Jones believes has helped transform England from World Cup flops to undefeated Six Nations champions in less than six months.
“Eddie in a very short space of time has obviously done amazing work with that English team,” said Farr-Jones, the Wallabies’ 1991 World Cup-winning captain.
“The way England play rugby, the English players probably need to be led.
“I don’t think they’re great at spontaneous plays. That probably need a coach and thrive under a coach like Eddie, whose somewhat of a school master-like leader.
“I played under coaches who prepared you extremely well, like Bob Dwyer and Alan Jones, but they let you go out there and gave you a license to do what you do; strut your stuff.
“Eddie is more a school master. He’ll send them out there with game plans and the boys will follow those game plans, and it’s probably what this England team needs to turn them around.”
Farr-Jones is fascinated by the coaching battle between Jones and Wallabies mentor Michael Cheika as the former clubmates try to outwit each other in pursuit of a significant series win for their .
“It’s interesting because their personalities, because of their background at Randwick and because of their absolute passion to win,” he said.
And just as Farr-Jones endorses Jones for England, fellow former Wallabies captain Simon Poidevin believes Cheika’s masterful motivation and man-management skills is proving just the tonic for Australia.
“I know Michael Cheika very well and he’s got an amazing ability to galvanise, to bring physical change, mental change, cultural change and that journey’s still progressing,” Poidevin told AAP.
“He’s brought some new lads into the mix, which is how any sport works, and they’re now being put into the Cheika school of culture.
“It’s all very genuine, natural. It’s been his personality since I first knew him down at Randwick.
“He came from a very strong family. His father was one of first Lebanese migrants to Australia in a refugee program and Joe his father provided a lot of leadership.
“His mum’s a very strong person. He’s taken that family trait. He had a very loving, but tough childhood so it’s been good for him.”