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Australia will be "breathing fire", warns England coach Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones is expecting fire and brimstone from Australia when England launch their quest for an historic series victory Down Under on Saturday.

The old rivals meet at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane in the first of three Tests that will signpost whether the Grand Slam champions have the potential to justify their head coach's vision of them becoming the sport's dominant force by 2019.

Australia's passage into the World Cup final last autumn offers perspective on the size of the challenge facing England, while the friendship between Jones and his former Randwick team-mate Michael Cheika, who coaches the Wallabies, adds a personal dimension to the series.

Jones predicts a ferocious opening scrum will begin the hostilities, but believes the Red Rose will call upon their fighting spirit to meet the onslaught head on.

"The game's going to go to a different level on Saturday. Australia are going to be absolutely rampant. This is the first Test they've played with expectation on them," Jones said.

"Knowing Cheika - and this may be one of the advantages that we have - we understand what the Wallabies are going to come out and do. They will be breathing fire.

"Just look at the World Cup game in the first scrum - they hit and chase and it's a penalty, but they don't care because all they want to do is make a physical statement.

"That's how Cheika wants to play the game. It's going to be a whole different ball game on Saturday.

"And it's also part of the English DNA. Every good English side, whether it's in cricket or rugby, wants to smash people.

"Winning would be massive. It would make everyone in the world stand up and say 'maybe they're trying to do something different now'."

While Jones knows a series victory would send shock waves throughout the world game, he understands that the upcoming games may also be make or break for some of his squad.

"Some of our players will grow and we hope they all grow, but there might be a couple of them that shrink," Jones said.

"If that happens then that's a great learning experience for them. We want them to have those experiences now, rather than the World Cup.

"You don't want players learning about how to handle pressure in World Cup games.

"We're going to win on Saturday but if something untoward happens then it'll be a great learning experience for us.

"The whole side is excited about it. We set out at the start of the Six Nations to be the most dominant team in Europe. We achieved that. Now we've got an opportunity to break into the top three in the world.

"You don't get any better than playing Australia or New Zealand at home. So here goes, let's swing the bat and see how we go."

Jones' sentiment is echoed by captain Dylan Hartley, who is adamant England can win the series despite its timing at the end of the season.

"This game is going to be a step up. They're a good pack, we're a good pack, but we expect to dominate on Saturday night and why not?" Hartley said.

"We believe in ourselves and are looking forward to the challenge. We believe we can win here. We believe we can win on Saturday night. We expect to win.

"In years gone by it might have been games tagged on at the end of the year, but the way we've prepared for this tour, the way we've made this group exclusive and it's special to be here...

'If you're tired and you want a holiday, you can go home. We've brought the best squad here, a squad hungry to climb the world rankings.

"We have a squad that is hungry to win, we believe we can and we have every expectation of each other to prepare accordingly."


From Belfast Telegraph