‘Keep Eddie’ sledge a warning to England coach

We don’t want him back. That’s the ominous message for an under-pressure Eddie Jones if his England team are whitewashed by the Wallabies this winter.

England head Down Under off the back of three successive losses to Ireland, France, and most recently the Barbarians – the all-comers delivering a 52-21 thumping.

This year’s Six Nations campaign was a lacklustre affair, England winning just two of their five matches.

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Although the Jones-led squad heads into the three-match series with a dominant record over Australia, the recent form guide is reason enough for concern according to rugby professional turned pundit Andy Goode.

The former England international of 17 test matches said Jones will have to go big with his selection ahead of this weekend’s opening clash at Optus Stadium in Perth.

“Listen, he’s missing a few players through injury, and obviously with the World Cup a year out – I know you like talking about World Cup cycles as I just heard – he’s getting some of his elder players back in the mix,” Goode said on Stan Sports’ Rugby Heaven.

“Billy Vunipola is key, he’s played really well, he’s been out of the international game for a year now. We’ve had the likes of [Alex] Dombrandt at No.8 and Sam Simmonds, both of those guys are out injured, so Billy Vunipola comes back in.

“He’s picking big, he’s picking mean, he’s picking players that are on form. We need to find a win somehow, because although we’ve got this record of eight-nil against the Aussies, I’ll keep mentioning that, under Eddie Jones, we’ve not been good over the last Six Nations period at all.

“There’s a lot of pressure on Eddie Jones, and if you guys win it three-nil, we can keep Eddie Jones over in Australia, we don’t want him back.”

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Goode conceded England’s drumming by the Barbarians wasn’t ideal preparation for the southern hemisphere tour.

However, the former five-eighth added that the squad was without some of its best players including the likes of Ellis Genge, Maro Toje, and Vunipola, who were instead playing in the Premiership Rugby final.

Helping England’s cause is the absence of Taniela Tupou, who is still nursing a calf injury. Ironically, the “Tongan Thor” has been the face of this year’s series in the build-up.

On Thursday, the Wallabies named its side for the first test, which includes two debutants in David Porecki and Cadeyrn Neville.

“I think if Tupou isn’t fit for this weekend – it sounds like what you guys are saying, he’s not going to be in the mix – I think he’s a massive loss,” said Goode prior to the team naming.

“I was nervous, and then you start looking into the team and start looking at what Eddie Jones is going to do, how we’re going to play the game, he’s stacking his team with big men and a physical battle is going to be key.

“I know physicality is one of the key words you’re allowed to drink with at home, so drink responsibly with that one. For me, I think it’s two–one to England, and I’m optimistic – I know, I’ m telling that to a bunch of Aussies and Kiwi in Mehrts – it’s difficult to predict.

“You can’t get over he’s never lost to Australia as England coach and he’s kind of got the wood over it.

“A lot of these younger players in the Australia team, they won’t be bothered about what happened in 2016, they won’t be bothered about what happened at the World Cup in 2019, it’s all about the here and now, and with the likes of [Samu] Kerevi back and Quade Cooper, there’s a helluva lot of talent there.”

The first of three matches against England gets underway this Saturday, July 2, at 7.55pm AEST.

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