Jones has turned England’s fortunes around since taking charge, after the dismal World Cup performance on home soil last year
Eddie Jones’ England are one win from becoming the world’s number two ranked team.
Eight months after being laughed out of their own World Cup, having failed to reach even the knockout stages, they can make history tomorrow.
Victory over Australia would not just secure an unprecedented series win, it would leave them behind only world champions New Zealand in the global standings.
It would mean in the space of 258 days England had gone from a lowly ranking of eight to their highest position since the months after their World Cup triumph more than a dozen years ago.
“I know we’re going to step up, I know this team is going to get better,” declared Jones after recalling George Ford and Jack Nowell to his line-up for the Melbourne showdown.
“Being the first side ever to win a series in Australia is a great motivation. If you do that you’re on the walls of Twickenham forever. That’s what this team wants to be.”
A run of seven straight wins under Jones, including a Grand Slam and a first ever victory over Australia in Brisbane, has transformed the mood of the squad.
Players associated with England’s worst ever World Cup display earlier this season are now boldly reaching for the stars.
“They’re desperate to win,” said Jones. “This is a game where players either grow or players shrink. I wouldn’t have picked the players that I have if I didn’t think they were ready for it.
“We are physically fit, we are mentally ready to go, we are ready to play our best game. We have got an opportunity to create history and we have left no stone unturned to make sure we do it.”
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]aptain Dylan Hartley passes Steve Thompson to become England’s most-capped hooker with his 74th appearance. Chris Robshaw, Hartley’s predecessor as skipper, reaches his half century.
Nowell and Ford, who played off the bench last weekend in Brisbane, are rewarded for outstanding contributions to that triumph.
Nowell scored a late try whilst Ford called the shots for the best part of an hour after being brought on in a first half tactical switch for Luther Burrell.
“It’s a 23 that suits the way we want to play,” Jones added. “We weren’t satisfied with last weekend’s performance and we know there’s lots to improve on, particularly aspects of our defence and breakdown work, which we’re confident we’ve remedied.
“We know the job isn’t done. We came here to win a Test series and that’s what we intend to do. Australia will try and throw everything at us and we’ll be ready for the challenge.”