Eddie Jones backs Australia to beat England

Eddie Jones wants to go out with a bang

Former Australia coach Eddie Jones says that he believes Australia will beat England in their crunch Rugby World Cup pool match if their scrum stands up to the challenge.

Fifty five year old Jones is now in charge of Japan but he says that the Wallabies can get their own back on England for beating them in the 2003 final this weekend.

Australia have always had exciting back lines but their achilles heel has been their scrum — more specifically the front five — and has often not been able to win enough ball to feed the backline.

“It will be some game but if the Australian scrum holds up — and the actual number of scrums in a game is a big factor here — I’m tipping Australia,” Jones said in a lively question-and-answer session with Woodward in Britain’s Daily Mail.

“If they win their share of ball they have just a bit too much round the park.

“And I’d back whoever wins the pool to get all the way through to the final.”

Jones, whose “Brave Blossoms” caused the greatest upset in World Cup history with a 34-32 victory over South Africa in their opening pool game, said current Wallabies coach Michael Cheika had revived the boys in green and gold since he took over prior to the northern hemisphere tour last November.

“I’m a fan,” said Jones, who quipped after the South Africa victory that if Japan made the quarter-finals he would like to retire and sit in a comfortable studio like TV pundit Woodward.

“He likes big aggressive forwards and ball-carriers and he gives his backs a bit of latitude.

“Robbie Deans before him (Ewen McKenzie held the post in between them before stepping down last October) was a great technical coach but I think Australia lacked a bit of identity.

“Australia sport is about being a bit brash and arrogant, doing things differently and Cheika understands all that.

“Getting Gits (Toulon back Matt Giteau) and the others back from Europe was smart,” added Jones, referring to how Cheika had persuaded his bosses to change their minds over not selecting foreign-based players, something that England by contrast refused to make a U-turn on.

Jones, whose side play Samoa in another crucial game on Saturday, where defeat would probably dash Japanese hopes of making history and reaching the last eight for the first time, does not believe England coach Stuart Lancaster has a firm game plan despite having had more than three years to define it.

“I don’t know him but from the outside he has done a good job in getting the basics right,” said Jones.

“But his next task is whether he can find the best rugby style for his players.

“To me he doesn’t look 100 percent sure of exactly how he wants England to play — you can see that from his different selections.”

Woodward for his part had to have the last word.

“An England drop goal in the last minute of the game will do us just fine!”

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