Eddie Jones insists England are ready to hunt down the Wallabies as they prepare for their clash on and off the field during their three test tour of Australia.
Jones named a 36-man squad that counts recalls for number eight Billy Vunipola and Danny Care, but counts Joe Marler, Ben Youngs and Elliot Daly as big-name omissions.
England’s last visit to Australia in 2016 ended with an impressive run, but Jones and his tourists were forced to overcome a coordinated campaign of off-field disturbances, including the head coach facing a protracted search of his luggage at Brisbane airport.
As a taste of what’s to come, the host produced a trailer for the series in which sunburned and obnoxious red rose fans drink tea and eat cake before being interrupted by Wallabies, Taniela Tupou.
“We have to go after them. We have every intention of going after them,” said Jones, who has won all eight games with Australia as England manager.
“Davie Rennie’s teams traditionally want to play with their front foot, so it will be about who wins with their front foot.
“There will be really hard and flat tracks and abusive crowds. They’re in your face, the Aussies. The media will be in our face – they are aggressive.
“It’s a very aggressive environment. You can learn a lot about your players and your squad on these tours and we miss that.
“I’m sure it will be fun. For Australians, it’s the biggest tour and it’s going to be huge. It’s going to be fantastic for rugby and it’s going to be fantastic for our team.”
Vunipola is one of 2016’s 10 survivors, but this time he’s trying to re-establish himself in the back row, having been frozen since the 2021 Six Nations.
A combination of his crushing form this season, culminating in a powerful afternoon for the Saracens against Leicester in Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership final, and injuries to eight favorites Alex Dombrandt and Sam Simmonds resulted in their recall.
England are out of the starting lineup and with Manu Tuilagi absent through injury, Vunipola could have an important role to play against the Wallabies.
“Billy can definitely bring power. He has this dexterity and subtle hands. When he’s at his best, which we think he’s close to now, he gives you something a little different,” Jones said.
“When players have been very successful – and all coaches will say that – there are some who are continually hungry for success and cannot live without it. Then there are some who sit for a while.
“He probably leaned back a little bit and sometimes it takes a reminder to get them to sit a little longer. He had that reminder and we are optimistic that we will see the best of him in the testing arena.”
Care has also been involved for six years and his exile from the England squad has lasted even longer as he has been aiming for a first cap since falling out with Jones in 2018.
Another player in excellent form, the 35-year-old brings pace and vision to the attack, while Youngs is told to focus on giving himself the best possible chance of being ready for next year’s World Cup.
“Australian tracks are typically hard and fast and the first game we played in Perth is an AFL track, so it’s for thoroughbreds. Matches Danny. He’s on top of the floor,” Jones said.
“If you had your running form and it was muddy, you’d say don’t support it, but if you’re firm, take it. He plays his best on the ground and is in great shape. He is in great physical shape.”