Chris Robshaw believes Eddie Jones will be determined to avenge his sacking by England and predicts Australia will benefit from an immediate uplift following his appointment as their head coach.
Jones has taken charge of the Wallabies a month after being dismissed by the Rugby Football Union, setting up the enticing prospect of him plotting his former employers’ down fall at the World Cup in October.
The old rivals are on a quarter-final collision course with England’s worst nightmare being a defeat masterminded by the man who had been contracted to lead them to France 2023 until a dismal autumn brought about the end of his seven-year reign.
Former red rose skipper Robshaw played under Jones from 2016 to 2018 and knows his appointment immediately makes Australia more formidable opponents.
“We’ve seen Eddie’s comments that Australia might see England in the quarter-finals – and give a little smirk! You always want to get one over your former team,” Robshaw said.
“I’m pretty sure Eddie will have a big impact. When any good coach goes into a different set-up it’s bad news if it’s not your team. Warren Gatland going back to Wales makes them tougher opposition straight away.
“When teams aren’t in form and they get a coach of excellent quality, then of course it makes them tougher opposition.
“When Eddie was in charge and England played Australia, we always knew it was a big game because of his history with Australia.
“But there was also the insight he had on the Australian players, the way they do things, their culture. Now he’s got that first hand from an England point of view.”
Although England had entered a deep malaise in the final throws of Jones’ reign, winning just five of their 12 Tests last year, the early days were a stunning success.
Inheriting a team that had crashed to a group exit at the 2015 World Cup, he delivered a Grand Slam and series whitewash of Australia as part of record-equalling 18-Test run.
It was evidence of his skill to transform a team’s fortunes in the short term and Robshaw was among those to benefit from his ability to push the right buttons.
“It’s Eddie mentality. He was better than any coach I have worked in terms of his man management,” Robshaw said.
“And it wasn’t always the big things, it was the little things like interacting with everyone every single morning in the breakfast room – going around all the tables.
“He would treat all the players differently. With someone like myself he was always very honest, with someone like James Haskell they would always take the mick out of each other. He interacted with the person rather than just the rugby player.
“For Australia, he will definitely have that ability to shake them up because they have good players but they are just low in confidence.
“They had a tough autumn series over here. The writing has been on the wall that at some point he would go back to that Australia job.
“He’s a proud Australian, he’s got a lot of history and heritage there. It’s just happened a bit sooner than most had thought.”
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