A sporting side that England can be proud of.

by admin on July 12, 2016

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With the disaster of the recent Rugby World Cup still relatively fresh, and now the particularly poor performance of the English football team (and fans) in France at Euros 2016, it might look like a bad 12 months for English sport.  But through the darkness, the introduction of an Australian has dramatically changed the path of English Rugby’s fortunes, and after a remarkable turnaround that saw England win the Grand Slam in the Six Nations, Eddie Jones has put the sword through the heart of his home nation with a whitewash rout on their turf.

Less than eight months after England bowed out of the World’s biggest tournament to which they were playing hosts, the mood around the camp could not be more different. Eddie Jones has revitalised almost the same squad that limped out of the Group Stages under Stuart Lancaster, to become genuine world beaters.

The magnitude of a northern-hemisphere team winning three tests in a row on Australian soil cannot be mistaken. It is rare for a team to win at all let alone thrice – back-to-back.

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England headed to Brisbane with confidence, and rightly so as a team who had dispatched the best of what Europe has to offer, but I don’t think they themselves would have anticipated flying out of Sydney a fortnight later with a whitewash tour victory.  The battling triumph in Brisbane was just England’s fourth victory on Australian soil as tries from Jonathan Joseph, Marland Yarde and Jack Nowell were matched by the precision of Owen Farrell’s boot to propel them to a 39-28 success with James Haskell putting in a tremendous performance in heart of the pack.

One week on the bitter rivals faced off in glorious Melbourne, Australia looking for revenge whilst England were looking to clinch their first ever series-win on their opponents soil.  A Dylan Hartley try and pin-point accuracy from the ever-reliant boot of Farrell saw England race into a 10-0 lead which was quickly narrowed as Stephen Moore’s converted try saw the hosts draw in and putting relentless pressure on England’s defence.  England held firm through a tremendous display of bravery, team spirit and courage and hit Australia on the counter as Farrell went over to clinch an historic series victory.

The journey to Sydney for the third and final test would have been a buoyant atmosphere in the English camp, focused on creating history but jubilant in the already confirmed history. However, the same can’t be said for the Aussies – humiliated in front of bumper crowds, and most importantly, by an England spearheaded by an Australian. Their pride was at stake and revenge was a must.

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The concluding test was a pulsating affair, fitting of an exceptional tour.  A game that ebbed and flowed and neither side could take full control of during periods of dominance.  Bernard Foley and Dane Haylett-Petty crossed for the hosts to put them a point ahead of England going into the break who had Dan Cole and Mike Brown to thank for their scores.

Billy Vunipola’s try was cancelled out by those of Michael Hopper and Israel Folau but the ever-dependable Owen Farrell was keeping England in the hunt.  Jamie George then broke through to set England on their way to a memorable victory – their highest ever points total against the Aussie’s – and the first 3-0 loss Australia had been subjected too since South Africa all the way back in 1971.

The last twelve months have been a roller coaster ride for the England Rugby team, from despair to delight. Eddie Jones is building something remarkable, a team that could go on to dominate World Rugby. This isn’t the end for England’s glory spell, merely the start of an exciting journey that could possibly climax with them being lead to World Cup glory in Japan, sixteen years after their success from the boot of Jonny Wilkinson.

 

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