Jonny Hill insists the prize on offer against Australia on Saturday rules out fatigue as a threat to England’s attempt to complete a series victory at Sydney Cricket Ground.
An engrossing 25-17 triumph in the second Test has set up a decider in the final outing of a 12-month stretch that for many of Eddie Jones’ squad included the Lions tour to South Africa.
Hill was part of Warren Gatland’s quest to topple the Springboks but he insists the prospect of emulating the 3-0 whitewash delivered Down Under in 2016 will induce one last lung-busting effort.
“When you have an opportunity to play in the final game of a series, I don’t think any fatigue will come into it,” said the Exeter lock, who missed the Six Nations because of a foot injury.
“The lads look forward to these tours all season. We’re here now and are in for a shout for the series, so the boys will be flying into it. We’ve got five weeks off after.
“It’s not something that happens very often, winning in Australia. If we went on to win it would be really special to me personally.”
England celebrated their success in the second Test with a few drinks in Brisbane in what was a cathartic experience after throwing away the series opener in dismal fashion.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) July 9, 2022
And the series has been levelled while issuing five new caps in wings Henry Arundell and Tommy Freeman, centres Guy Porter and Will Joseph and scrum-half Jack Van Poortvliet.
“We just went to a hotel down the road, which was quite fun. It was a win that was a long time coming for us. It felt like we didn’t really fire a shot in the first Test,” Hill said.
“We’d had quite a few debutants over the last few weeks and those first Tests everyone remembers, so it’s really important to celebrate those.”
England will enter the second Test with a renewed conviction over their ability to gain an edge on the Wallabies up front after completely dominating their opponents for 35 minutes until the forward battle evened out.
The maul was an effective weapon and Billy Vunipola was close to his best after his year in international exile, but the key moment came early on when Ellis Genge ran through Australia captain Michael Hooper.
“It was amazing by Genge. I was in the phase before off nine and I was getting up. I thought it was Nic White initially, then saw it was Hooper and thought ‘wow’. It was some carry,” Hill said.
“We always try and target a fast start and sometimes it can be difficult to get. When you get it like that it can really boost the boys.
“When you’re going into the game as an individual, or I do anyway, you want to be the guy who has the fast start and drives people on. In the second Test it was Gengey.
“I feel like we were dominant in the forwards. Our drive and scrum got us round the field, put us in good positions and we got a lot of points from it. Australia will have a tough watch looking back through the set-piece and things.”