Eddie Jones believes England’s stunning success in Australia could ignite the imaginations of children to become the next Owen Farrell rather than Harry Kane.
For the first time in their history, the Grand Slam champions have completed a series victory over one of the southern hemisphere giants after departing AAMI Park in Melbourne with an impressive 23-7 win.
They have supplanted the Wallabies in second place in the world rankings and a ninth victory of Jones’ reign in Sydney this Saturday would complete a glorious 3-0 whitewash.
While Roy Hodgson’s England football team are targeting a place in the knockout phase of Euro 2016, the Red Rose have crushed Australia and Jones hopes rugby’s profile will be enhanced as a result.
“The fantastic thing is that to win a series like this is a win for English rugby in total – it’s a win for fans, the Rugby Football Union and the media,” Jones said.
“It’s a nice thing to have and a great thing for English rugby. Young kids will be sitting at home and rather than wanting to be Dele Alli or Harry Kane, they might want to be Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell or George Ford.
“That’s the sort of thing that rugby does. The power of having a strong international rugby team is that it means kids want to play rugby.
“We want these guys to be heroes for English rugby. When kids want to play for England then the whole game gets healthier.”
England’s victory was founded on a courageous defensive display that was inspired by The Guy In The Glass by Dale Wimbrow, a poem about being true to yourself that was read to the squad earlier in the week by assistant coach Paul Gustard.
The tourists made more than three times as many tackles as their opponents and ran themselves into the ground to protect their line, with a late converted try and penalty from Farrell giving the scoreline its lopsided look. Captain Dylan Hartley, who became England’s most capped hooker, had crossed in the first half, while the outstanding Farrell also kicked three penalties and two conversions.
Jones is set to make changes for the third Test knowing many of his players are exhausted, while the fitness of Jack Nowell and James Haskell is being monitored due to respective concussion and foot issues.
“We’ve got a few players with bumps and bruises so will have to look at our selection very carefully,” said Jones, who has ordered his players to keep their feet on the Wallabies’ throats by winning at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
A bad-tempered clash in Melbourne – the match repeatedly erupted into brawls – extended Jones’ triumphant sequence since replacing Stuart Lancaster to eight games and he has yet to taste defeat, but the Australian is aware that he is riding the crest of a wave.
“You don’t really predict these things. You don’t know how a side is going to develop,” Jones said.
“You get in there, look at the strength of the team, work out a way to play and a way to win.
“At the moment we’re winning. There’s always the other side of the road and we’ll be prepared for that.”
England’s star performer was the relentless Chris Robshaw, who marked his 50th cap with a man of the match display, although the likes of Farrell, James Haskell and Mako Vunipola were not far behind.
“Playing one of the best attacking sides in world rugby, on their own patch, we knew it would be tough and we can’t wait until next week, to finish it off properly,” said Robshaw.
“It’s a nice feeling to be above Australia in the rankings. We didn’t take a backward step last week, we didn’t on Saturday and we won’t again next weekend. That has been the mindset from day one.”
Australia can only salvage their pride in Sydney and head coach Michael Cheika had no complaints with the outcome in Melbourne.
“It feels pretty bad, pretty bad. We played a lot of footy, but that doesn’t always win you the game,” Cheika said.
“You have to pay credit to England, in both games they were smart. They spoilt a lot of good ball and well done to them. They have seen that we are going to play a lot of footy and chosen an opposite way – and that has been victorious. We will have to take it, suck it up and use the scars later on.”