England v Australia: Slump made us stronger - Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones
Jones took over England in the wake of a pool-stage exit at the 2015 World Cup
England v Australia
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 24 November Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live with BBC Two highlights at 19:30 GMT

Coach Eddie Jones says six successive defeats earlier this year has made England stronger as they prepare to meet Australia on Saturday.

England lost two Tests against South Africa this summer on the heels of reverses against the Barbarians, Ireland, France and Scotland.

But, after an impressive autumn showing, Jones is happy with how the team are shaping up for Japan 2019.

"You've got to have failure to have growth," he said.

"This team is growing, growing in depth, growing in leadership density, growing in the interaction between the players.

"What we've seen since the South Africa tour is the fighting spirit within this side and that is only going to get better."

England suffered a 16-15 defeat by world champions New Zealand in between a one-point victory over South Africa and a more comfortable 35-15 win over Japan.

Australia coach Michael Cheika, who featured alongside Jones for Sydney-based club side Randwick during the pair's playing days, says his England counterpart deserves faith and backing, especially after winning his first 17 matches after taking over in early 2016.

"Call me thick, but I can't understand why he's been getting grief," said Cheika.

"Maybe they're giving him grief because he's an Aussie.

"The team's ranked fourth in the world, playing lots of good footy, so I'm not sure what people are looking for. Perfection? That's never happening. You win some games, you lose some games.

England's autumn Tests
3 NovemberBeat South Africa 12-11
10 NovemberLost to New Zealand 16-15
17 NovemberBeat Japan 35-15
24 NovemberAustralia

"He's definitely won more games than he's lost so I'd be wrapping him up and signing him up for another four years."

Cheika will be attempting to overturn England's run of dominance over Australia.

Since the Wallabies won 33-13 at Twickenham to dump the World Cup hosts out of the 2015 tournament, England have won the last five meetings, most recently racking up a 24-point winning margin last November.

With only four wins in his last 14 Tests, Cheika himself has come under pressure. Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle defended him before the team set out on their northern hemisphere tour, but admitted to "universal frustration" with performances.

Michael Cheika
Cheika masterminded Australia's victory over England at the 2015 World Cup

But Cheika believes the chance to put one over England at home will bring out the best in his side.

"I know everyone thinks it's a bit of a lost cause, I've seen some of our own people from back home saying we aren't up to it," he said.

"We've had an inconsistent season, and we want to make sure we finish off the year by putting in our best performance - and most courageous.

"Always at Twickenham there is that little bit extra.

"I've got a lot of self-belief and a lot of belief in my team and I hope I can pass more of that on to them so they can have that genuine Aussie swagger when they run on to the field tomorrow."

Designs on victory

Australia celebrate beating New Zealand
Australia ended a seven-match losing streak against the All Blacks in their 'Indigenous' playing shirt's first outing in October 2017

Australia will wear their 'Indigenous' playing shirt this weekend, which features a design by artist Dennis Golding and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.

The shirt was first worn in the 23-18 win over New Zealand in Brisbane last year.

"The Australian jersey means a lot always," Cheika told BBC Sport.

"But we want to show indigenous Australians that rugby is a game that represents them as well.

"There are a lot of great indigenous players, I've played with some of them and coached some of them.

"We have spoken a lot this week about indigenous history, and I'm sure we want to take that passion onto the field as well."

Room-mates in league, opponents in union

Ben Te'o and Israel Folau
Te'o and Folau in a Brisbane Broncos training session in 2009 (left) and, eight years later, after England's autumn win over Australia

England centre Ben Te'o has revealed Australia full-back Israel Folau, who he played and lived with during the pair's time at rugby league side Brisbane Broncos, helped convince him to make his own code switch.

Te'o, who was born in New Zealand, moved to Australia as a teenager and represented Samoa in the 13-man game, moved to Irish province Leinster in 2014, before switching to play for Worcester and England, who he qualifies for through his mother.

"Israel was one of the guys, when I made the change from rugby league, that I had a deep conversation with about whether I could make it or not. He backed me and said 'give it a go mate'," said Te'o.

"I wanted to know if he thought I'd have the tools to be successful and whether they transferred to rugby union.

"I probably never imagined that I'd play Test rugby against an old roommate but it's funny how these things happen.

"He's one of the top full-backs in the world in rugby union and I'm just trying to follow his lead."

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