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Glen Ella: England are determined to silence their critics in Australia

Published 07/06/2016

Glen Ella says England are ready to prove a point in Australia
Glen Ella says England are ready to prove a point in Australia

Glen Ella insists England are determined to use their upcoming series against Australia to correct misconceptions over the northern hemisphere's attacking limitations.

Former Wallaby full-back Ella has been installed as the Grand Slam champions' skills coach for the three Tests that begin in Brisbane on Saturday after being approached by his old friend and former Randwick team-mate Eddie Jones during the RBS 6 Nations.

The 57-year-old has been entrusted with the task of adding a new dimension to England, while acting as a sounding board to players keen to learn from a respected voice in the game.

England and their Six Nations counterparts are derided in the southern hemisphere for their reliance on the set-piece at the expense of the vision and guile associated with Australia and New Zealand.

Ella, however, is reminded of the emergence of Wallabies greats such as George Gregan and Matt Giteau when working with the players he must now help guide to victory over his homeland.

"It's definitely the perception down here of England playing a structured game and we want to prove that wrong. These guys are good, they've got great skills," Ella said.

"In Australia they don't give any credit to the northern hemisphere. They think Super Rugby is much better than the Six Nations. While some of that could be true, it's up to us to prove that it's not.

"England are coming down here to test themselves. In a couple of years' time they want to be the best in the world. With Eddie behind them I think they've got a good chance.

"Well, to do that they've got to play the southern hemisphere teams and that's just the way it is.

"Their skill levels are really good. I've been really impressed with the squad in general.

"Their work ethic is fantastic. They're a young squad, they want to learn and they want to win.

"It's similar to when the likes of George Gregan and Stephen Larkham were coming through the system.

"I was assistant to Rod Macqueen in 2000 and 2001 and then to Eddie in 2003. The likes of Matt Giteau were coming into the system.

"The England players are similar because they're young, they want to learn and they want to be successful."

Ella and Jones have known each other since the age of five after attending the same primary school and the pair have remained in regular contact since England appointed their successor to Stuart Lancaster.

The last post held by Ella was with Fiji in 2009 and his CV also includes stints at Australia and Canada.

A three-week contract has placed limitations on the scope for Ella to have an influence, but he believes that by the time the final Test in Sydney arrives results will be detectable.

"It's been great working with Eddie, I've really enjoyed it and the last time I coached alongside him was in 2003. It's like I haven't left coaching. It's like riding a bike. You get back on and off you go," Ella said.

"It's only for the tour I don't want to think about doing anything else. Let's hold on until after the tour and we'll go after that.

"We've had two field sessions and during one it was pouring with rain. On Monday was the first time we've had a good blow-out.

"The impact is minimal at this stage but hopefully, come the third Test, they'll be switched on and moving.

"You do need time to change. You're not going to make massive increments over one session.

"When you're just adjusting different parts of your game it feels awkward until you feel comfortable with it. It's just the little things...just come a little bit closer, a little bit forward. It's a time thing.

"It's not a case of snapping your fingers and tomorrow we've got a backline capable of playing the way Australia does. It's just not the way it is.

"I'm just helping the guys along at this stage, giving them some hints, having a look at their running lines and adjusting them as I see fit.

"I hope I can have some influence so that by the time they come to Sydney they'll be playing the way Eddie wants them to play.

"We want to make this a pretty good series and we want to win it. As Eddie always says, we don't do this for practise, we do this because we want to win."

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