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Eddie Jones driven by expectation from home as England prepare for Wallabies

Published 01/12/2016

Marland Yarde will start on the wing for England against Australia
Marland Yarde will start on the wing for England against Australia

Eddie Jones is taking measures to guard his "vulnerable" England players against complacency while turning to wife Hiroko to ensure his own hunger remains intact.

Jones has spied "iffy" moments during training this week, leading him to seek and stamp out any signs that the desire of his Grand Slam champions to complete an unblemished year is anything other than total.

Australia visit Twickenham on Saturday in the climax to the autumn series and will be aiming to avenge their whitewash in June and prevent England from accumulating a team record-equalling 14th successive victory.

And while it is Jones who prevents any reduction in standards from the team, the 56-year-old revealed he looks to home to guarantee his drive is undiminished.

"My wife. Every time I go home she says, 'You'd better win this week', so it's simple," Jones said.

He added: "I remember when I got sacked as the Wallabies coach. I came home absolutely distraught because it was my dream job. She said, 'Right, where are we going next?'.

"You find most players who come from a good home with parents, wife or family that's level-headed find it easier to keep their feet on the ground.

"When you haven't got that around and you have people around you who want to take advantage of some success and want you to do that extra commercial activity or change your hairstyle because it will look good on Saturday, then it's harder.

"Those are the players who you have to continually work on to make sure they keep their feet on the ground. We can do that with psychology, selection... there's a number of ways."

Rather than giving England an advantage heading into Saturday's showdown, Jones believes toppling the Wallabies over Tests in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney has placed them in greater danger of falling at the final hurdle of 2016.

"It makes us more vulnerable and them more hungry. Whenever you get beaten your attention is more and you want it more," he said.

"When you have had some wins your appetite is pretty full and it's a test of the mindset on Saturday. That's why I'm excited.

"For me the rugby is always important, but to be the best in the world you have to be like Muhammad Ali. Go for those road runs every morning at 5am when no one notices.

"You have to have the relentless desire and pursuit of excellence. This is a great test for us because you're always sitting next to complacency or looking ahead too much.

"That's a constant battle. We're at our most vulnerable now. I was talking to the players about it in training.

"When you win how many games we've won in a row that's when you're at your most vulnerable. The only way you get over the top of that is to have the correct mindset.

"At training this week we've been a bit iffy at stages. That's not such a bad thing because it helps to keep complacency from the door."

Nathan Hughes and Marland Yarde will start for England on Saturday, with Hughes replacing the injured Billy Vunipola at number eight and Yarde filling the vacancy left by Elliot Daly's three-week suspension.

Jones said: "Nathan is a strong runner and will provide go-forward. I like one winger with pace, which is Jonny May, and one with work rate, so Marland will work hard for us."

Jones views the final assignment of the autumn as the completion of a schedule that acts as a dry run for the next World Cup.

"To me it's more about a World Cup dress rehearsal. You've got to win four games at a World Cup to get through to the next stage," he said.

"As we've seen with Japan you can't afford just to win three. We want to get into the practice of winning four games in a row.

"The higher the quality of the opposition, the more challenging it is. This is a great opportunity to have that dress rehearsal for the World Cup.

"Ultimately, regardless of the result on Saturday, our aim is to win the World Cup in 2019."

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