Jones to use Australian coach Stuart for likely Wallabies tie
Dual international set to join England’s camp Squad back in training for quarter-final clash
England will seek to gain a psychological edge in the build-up to next weekend’s quarter-final, which is expected to be against Australia in Oita, by bringing in renowned rugby league coach and former player Ricky Stuart to work with Eddie Jones’ squad.
It is understood that Jones arranged for Stuart, a dual international who played 11 Tests for the Australia rugby league team and three tour matches for his country’s rugby union side, to fly in from Sydney if England reached the last eight of the World Cup.
Stuart, the head coach of Canberra Raiders, will exchange ideas with Jones, who has established strong links with several Australian rugby league sides, and the significance of his involvement in the build-up to the game will not be lost on Michael Cheika, the Wallabies head coach.
“It’s for me to become better for my players,” Stuart told The Australian Daily Telegraph. “It’s really their moment. It is something that’s been in the planning for a couple of months. I know Eddie, he is a world-class operator.
“The reason we picked the quarter-final was that we wanted to experience their operations and processes. I’m very fortunate and privileged that Eddie has given us the opportunity to gain insight into these intense moments.”
Stuart even has experience of playing against Jones in his early days in rugby union.
“I played a game of rugby against Eddie when I was a young kid, and I had a day with him when he was coaching the Brumbies,” Stuart said.
Jones has already drawn heavily on Australian expertise during his four-year tenure as England head coach.
Scott Wisemantel, England’s attack coach, joined the management team during the tour of South Africa last year. He is another crosscode footballer from Australia, having played for Parramatta Eels and Eastwood in rugby union, and has an extensive coaching background in Australia and Japan.
Other Jones appointments have included Jason Ryles, Melbourne
‘The devil is in the detail – you only get one go at the World Cup’
Storm assistant coach and Australia rugby league international, Dean Benton, formerly the Rugby Football Union’s head of sport science who was an Australian rules player, and Glen Ella, the Wallabies legend who helped with England’s attack play in 2016.
Jones has also brought in former rugby league star Andrew Johns as a consultant while Neil Craig, the former Australian rules coach, is Jones’s right-hand man. Warrick Harrington is England’s performance analyst, who is responsible for gathering GPS data, nutrition and athlete testing. He formerly worked with Australia Super Rugby side the Brumbies, where he performed a similar role.
If next week’s mind games between Jones and Cheika are likely to make for an intriguing backdrop to the first time the two sides have met in the quarter-finals since 2007, England are also hoping that their brief sojourn to Miyazaki will provide the perfect preparation for their attempt to reach the semi-finals.
After a travel and rest day for the squad yesterday, Jones will seek to replicate some Test-match intense sessions at the training pitch beside their luxurious Sheraton hotel resort in Miyazaki, where they spent nine nights in a pre-tournament camp to prepare for the heat and humidity of the pool stages in Japan.
Jones has relished the return to the coastal resort town, where he plotted South Africa’s downfall in the 2015 World Cup, and loves the area so much he considered buying a house here.
“This is going to be the place where they find their feet, get in the rhythm to put the finishing touches on the World Cup preparations and get ready for the excitement of the tournament,” Jones said when England arrived.
“This is a very good training place, a great hotel, and you have a gym right next door. The stress for the players is minimal; warm weather, good food, good training.
“The devil is in the detail. You have to get these things right. You only get one go at the World Cup. You have to be adaptable. It is all about getting ready and getting as well prepared as you can.
“It is very much a rural area so there are lovely beaches, swimming, golf; we have got two golf courses, a driving range. We are only here for eight days and it is just before the first World Cup game. If boredom is an issue, we have got the wrong players.”
England will also train in a “light session” tomorrow before they depart for Oita on Monday via a threehour bus journey when they will resume their normal Test-week preparations.
Helping out: Ricky Stuart, head coach of Canberra Raiders, will share ideas