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England boss Eddie Jones hails 'outstanding' Owen Farrell after series whitewash

Published 25/06/2016

Eddie Jones feels England still have areas for improvement despite series whitewash Down Under
Eddie Jones feels England still have areas for improvement despite series whitewash Down Under

Owen Farrell's goal-kicking was hailed as "solar-system class" by Eddie Jones after the England playmaker sent Australia crashing to a 44-40 defeat in Sydney.

The Grand Slam champions completed a series whitewash of the Wallabies in a thrilling, rollercoaster climax to the summer tour at Allianz Stadium.

The try-count finished 5-4 in Australia's favour, so it was the goal-kicking of Farrell that ultimately proved the difference after he amassed 24 points while missing just one shot at goal.

His six penalties and three conversions lifted his tally for the series to 66 points, and his strike rate was 88 per cent across the three Tests.

While Jones stopped short of anointing Farrell as a world-class player, he left little doubt over his ability from the kicking tee and revealed that he has benefitted from training sessions with Jonny Wilkinson.

"Owen's kicking is solar-system class. He's an absolutely outstanding goal-kicker," head coach Jones said.

"We've got to be very thankful to Jonny Wilkinson for the work he has done with Owen Farrell and George Ford.

"He's been superb. Owen's been absolutely terrific on tour. He's kicked well, played well. He's gradually improving. You want every player to improve.

"Being a top-class rugby player is about being consistent in your application and making good decisions, and what he's doing is making a lot of good decisions.

"There's still some more consistency in his skill application, but that will come."

Jones was delighted with a victory that sent Australia spinning to their first 3-0 series defeat since 1971, but insisted England must raise their level of performance if they are to replace New Zealand as the sport's dominant force.

"That was a brave effort from our team. We weren't at our best, we had a number of players sub-par, but it was a fantastic effort from the squad to beat a very good and determined Australia side," he said.

"We're pleased with the 3-0 result, but we realise we've got a lot of work to do.

"We're inconsistent in our defence. We've had two poor games in defence and one very good game.

"If we want to be the number one team in the world, which we do, we need greater consistency in that.

"Our set-piece gave us a significant advantage in the second half, so we're pleased about that and about the general attitude of the players.

"The players showed fitness, toughness and they were brave. It was a great start for us, but was only a start. We realise that.

"If we're going to be the best team in the world, we need to be much more consistent and we'll work very hard to get that over the next three years.

"It's about performance. We're not happy with our performance, even though we're happy with the result. We left four tries out there and we shouldn't do that.

"It's been a pleasure to be in Australia. Being an Australian, I'm always grateful for what Australia have done for me, but it's certainly nice beating them 3-0."

Once more Jones displayed his ruthless streak, withdrawing Teimana Harrison after only 31 minutes in a change that had echoes of the first Test when Luther Burrell was pulled at a similar point due to his defensive lapses.

"It was a gut feeling. They came at us hard. They had a big pack - that Will Skelton weighs more than a truck," Jones said.

"They had big guys in their pack and we missed James Haskell's physical presence. It was always a gamble playing a smaller openside flanker so that why we decided to put Courtney Lawes on a little bit earlier. He gave us plenty of starch, he was good."

Australia coach Michael Cheika saluted the impact made my Jones since he replaced Stuart Lancaster in December.

"Eddie has obviously added some starch to the team, there is no doubt about that. They have had a good reaction from him, picked up and worked hard," Cheika said.

"They haven't lost a game since he has been in charge so you can't really say anything can you? It's plain sailing."

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