Eddie Jones relishes silencing critics

Maro Itoje will miss the decider in Sydney.

England head coach Eddie Jones (file pic).
England head coach Eddie Jones (file pic).
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

EDDIE JONES relished silencing the taunts of Australia fans and his own critics after England took their three-Test series to a decider with a 25-17 victory in Brisbane.

England must play the climax to the tour in Sydney without Maro Itoje after the Lions second row was concussed following a heavy collision with Hunter Paisami shortly before half-time.

Jones confirmed that Itoje, who appeared to have been knocked out, will not take part on Saturday but Sam Underhill could yet feature after he also suffered a head injury in a full-blooded second Test that took a heavy toll on both squads.

It was England who weathered the storm more successfully, however, after establishing a 17-0 lead before showing resilience to withstand a Wallabies fightback that was undermined by a high error count.

“I love coaching at Suncorp Stadium, it’s a good experience,” said Jones, who coached Australia from 2001 to 2005.

“You have got 48,000 people all full of drink and all they want to see is their team win. When you turn them away, it’s a great experience. A great feeling.

“I was coming out from the coaches’ box and they all have their scarves on. When did Australians start wearing scarves? It’s all the rage isn’t it? They are not so smart now.

“Before the game they are coming up saying to me you are going to get belted tonight. Now they are a little bit more quiet. So that’s good. I enjoy that.”

Ellis Genge set the tone for a dominant first half by blasting through Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and Jones revealed that the Leicester captain had been “annoyed” by pre-match comments made by Taniela Tupou.

Meanwhile, Jones arrived in Brisbane under heavy fire from critics in the wake of a 30-28 defeat in the first Test that formed part of a four-game losing run, but he insisted he enjoyed the noise around his future.

“I like it. I think it is fantastic. I love my mother ringing me up in the morning saying ‘are you going to get sacked? When do you have to move? Are you going to come back to Australia? Come back and live in Randwick’,” Jones said.

“I love that. My poor mother. But I don’t mind it because I have made the choice to take the job and that’s always going to happen because there’s infatuation with sacking coaches now isn’t there?”

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Australia’s extraordinary run of injuries that began during the warm-up for the first Test when Quade Cooper went down with a calf injury continued unabated.

Scott Sio, Jordan Petaia, Izaia Perese and Cadeyrn Neville have all been ruled out of the third Test with knocks sustained in Brisbane, adding to their crippling injury toll from the series opener.

“We lost the collisions early, they chocked us in our half for the first 30 minutes and we fell 17-0 behind,” head coach Dave Rennie said.

“When we played territory and got them down the right area of the field we could apply heat.

“We got to 22-17 and we had all the momentum, but you have to give them the credit. We have to look at our discipline and start better.

“Next Saturday is a decider and guys are playing for their country. We’ve got depth and that will be tested.”

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