Eddie Jones hails Freddie Steward’s try against Australia as ‘one of best’ England have scored

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Coach Eddie Jones said the try finished by rookie full-back Freddie Steward in the first half of England’s win over Australia was “one of the best I have seen from England”.

Steward, 20, was among the young players singled out by Jones in what he felt was an impressive win.

Asked about the new partnership in midfield between Marcus Smith and captain Owen Farrell, Jones used a cricket analogy:

“They are a bit like two opening batsman who haven’t batted together and are facing the new ball for the first time.

“But I thought our first try is one of the best I have seen from England. Our handling, our running lines, hitting the holes, was absolutely outstanding.

“We want to do more of that. It’s not going to happen all the time, but really promising from those two guys.

“The competition in this squad is red hot and we know Smith will be a good player if he keeps working hard.”

The game was perhaps tighter than it should have been, but Jones was delighted with the win.

“We had a fairly disrupted week,” he said. “We had two Covid positives, a young prop come in on Thursday with one training run, promoted to start.

“We lost Jamie George at half time, Kyle Sinckler got a bag dead leg early in the first half.

“We had to battle really hard and I was really pleased with the attitude of the players. We predicted more of a free-flowing game, but it turned out to be a heavy penalty game and I was pleased how we fought through it.”

Jones heaped praise on his young players, singling out Bevan Rodd as his star performer after his ascension to start at loosehead having only been called up to the squad on Thursday due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

“Making his debut against a bloke with 113 caps [James Slipper],” Jones said.

“He played 65 minutes, which is a remarkable effort for a young man. He’s a young prop, only had one training run with us.

“Then Jamie Blamire, who’s a young hooker who we have identified who can make a really good Test hooker. Has a bit of work to do on his set piece, but most young hookers do.”

Finally on Steward, Jones said: “He’s got a good head on him, wants to improve. He’s got a good awareness of where the ball is and where his support players are, and he’s brave in the air.

“I haven’t seen an England full-back like him since Mike Brown, that is courageous in the air, he caught every ball.”

England suffered a pair of injuries. Farrell went off with an ankle issue but expects to be involved against South Africa next week, but Jamie George is a doubt with a knee injury.

“He got a fair whack on his knee,” said Jones. “He’s a tough guy, so for him to go off, it’s not impossible that he can’t play next week.”

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