Not content with telling his England players to emulate the country’s Ashes cricket heroes, Eddie Jones has urged them to play “Bodyline” rugby against his native Australia later this year.
The former Wallabies boss has already marked his first season in charge of England with the Six Nations title.
England were crowned kings of Europe with a round to spare last weekend when they beat Wales and Scotland saw off France.
Now England have a chance to complete a first Grand Slam since their World Cup-winning year of 2003 — when Jones was coach of beaten finalists Australia — against France in Paris on Saturday.
But Jones already has an eye on June’s three test tour of Australia — who knocked hosts England out of the World Cup with a dominant 33-13 pool phase win at Twickenham in October en route to losing the final against New Zealand.
Last week, cricket fan Jones said: “You go back to the great Ashes cricket series. When have England won Test matches? When they’ve had two fast bowlers — or at least one — who wants to rip every Aussie batsman’s head off. To me, that is English sport.”
It was a theme he returned to on Monday by summoning the memory of ‘Bodyline’, the name associated with the 1932/33 England tour of Australia.
– Physical aggression –
Back then visiting captain Douglas Jardine used fast bowlers such as Harold Larwood to rough up Australia’s batsmen, notably cricket great Don Bradman, in a tactical approach, which although brutally effective in that it saw England regain the Ashes, was later widely regarded as intimidatory and unsporting.
“We’ve got one game to go (against France) and then we’ll worry about picking the squad for Australia,” Jones said.
“We’ve got to take a side down there to play Bodyline. If we’re going to beat Australia in Australia, we’ve got to have a completely physical aggressive team.”
But first Jones will try to guide England to what would be just their 13th Grand Slam.
“The history is fantastic. 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,” said Jones.
“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.
“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.”
England have been close to a European clean sweep in recent seasons, only to suffer last day collapses in both 2011 and 2013.
And for all that France, under new coach Guy Noves, have been largely unimpressive this Six Nations, a wary Jones said: “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.” – Agence France-Presse