Glen Ella says Eddie Jones will be thriving on coming under fire and expects England to step up when they face Australia in a three-match Test series next month.

The 62-year-old heads back to his homeland with the Red Rose smarting from a chastening warm-up hammering at the hands of the Barbarians following a disappointing Six Nations campaign.

Jones is undefeated against his country of birth during his England tenure, and famously oversaw a series whitewash in 2016.

Ella, a former school-mate of Jones who also played club rugby with him at Randwick and was his assistant six years ago, feels he will conjure up a response with his back against the wall and with key men to return.

"I sit here laughing when I see some of the press that is coming out of England," he told The Guardian. "Some of it is warranted, there’s no doubt about that, but this is what he thrives on.

"They’ll come over here and put three good games together, that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

"He thrives under that kind of pressure and that probably brings the best out of him, especially away from England, in an environment that he knows.

"He probably left not on the best terms in Australia but the one thing about Eddie is that he’s got a lot of belief in himself and a lot of belief in his team."

The Wallabies will have a point to prove after failing to get the better of England under Jones and they are a different proposition under Dave Rennie.

"It’s harder coaching a foreign team, as Eddie is finding at the moment, and to win the Australian public over they need to win the series," Ella added.

"But it’s a different Australia these days and especially with the Super Rugby sides on the up, there’s big expectation. England have beaten the Australians eight times under Eddie and so [Australia’s] got a lot to answer for."

 

Joe Schmidt will help New Zealand prepare for the first Test against Ireland at Eden Park on Saturday after head coach Ian Foster and two of his assistants tested positive for COVID-19.

Foster and assistant coach John Plumtree tested positive for coronavirus at the weekend and Scott McLeod is the latest coach to contract the virus.

Former Ireland head coach Schmidt will work with the New Zealand squad this week in the absence of that trio.

Centres David Havili and Jack Goodhue have also tested positive for COVID-19, so Braydon Ennor has been called up to join the squad in Auckland.

Foster said: "Joe will come in for Tuesday and Thursday's training this week, and we're really grateful to have his help.

"We've planned for this kind of disruption and we've got back-up plans and people on standby.  Joe was one of those people we could call on."

Foster added: "I've got every confidence in our coaching group, and in our senior leaders who are all stepping up in what’s a massive test for us.

"Everyone has had to deal with these kinds of disruptions over the past couple of years. This is a real opportunity for the coaching group and team to pull together."

Jonny May has tested positive for coronavirus just eight days before the first Test between England and Australia, leaving the winger's availability uncertain.

May was named as part of Eddie Jones' 36-man touring squad for the three-Test series, which starts on July 2 in Perth.

The 32-year-old has played 69 times for England but could struggle to feature in the opening Test, with May having to spend seven days in isolation as local regulations in Australia stipulate.

May, who is England's second top try scorer in history, missed the Six Nations after undergoing knee surgery in January, making his international comeback in the 52-21 thrashing to the Barbarians last Sunday.

Head coach Jones could be without his star winger but refused to rule him out ahead of the clash with the Wallabies.

"We're not going to rule Jonny May out at this stage. We'll just see how he is," Jones said on Friday.

"Potentially he'll be available next Thursday to train, so we'll have a look to see what he's like because he's experienced and he's showed in his first game back against the Barbarians that he's lacking game time and that he's got his best rugby ahead of him.

"We'll just monitor his situation and make an assessment closer to the day when he gets out."

Eddie Jones believes that England have a strong squad for the tour of Australia despite injury absences as he highlighted the importance of the upcoming matches ahead of next year's World Cup.

The three-Test tour begins in Perth on July 2 and England head into it on the back of Sunday's 52-21 drubbing at the hands of the Barbarians on Sunday.

Significant absentees include Alex Dombrandt, Manu Tuilagi, Sam Simmonds and Kyle Sinckler, leading Jones to recall Billy Vunipola, who was last capped in the 2021 Six Nations, and eight uncapped players have also been selected.

While there are big names absent and uncapped players among the roster, Jones believes that the squad is more than capable of making a positive impression in the tour.

"Though we have ten players unavailable due to injury, we have picked a very strong squad capable of winning the series," he told a news conference.

"This squad is a real mix of young, talented players and some very experienced, senior players and we're looking forward to bringing the group together.

"This tour will be a great experience for the group and a crucial part of the team's work towards the World Cup in 2023. We will continue to develop the base of the squad and how we want to play.

"We've put a lot of work into preparing for the tour over the past few weeks but now the hard work really begins when we finally get the squad on the plane and to Australia."

On the injuries that have plagued the side, he added: "It's no concern because I can't control it. We can only pick from the players we have available. And I think generally now in a four-year cycle the only time you get close to having 100 per cent of your is the World Cup, with that three-month lead up."

Jones' next big decision is on who will captain the side in the absence of Owen Farrell, and he confirmed that call will be made once the squad arrives in Perth.

"Well once we get into Perth we'll start preparing and we'll announce the captaincy in due course," he added.

Billy Vunipola and Danny Care have returned to the England fold as head coach Eddie Jones announced the squad for the upcoming tour to Australia.

Vunipola has not featured for England since last year's Six Nations, but comes into the squad after injuries to Alex Dombrandt and Sam Simmonds.

The 29-year-old suffered a head injury in Saracens' Premiership final loss to Leicester Tigers on Saturday but is fit to join up with an England side that were hammered 52-21 by the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.

Care also features, having not earned a cap since 2018, as England's most-capped international and fellow scrum-half Ben Youngs stays at home due to family reasons.

Jones has included eight uncapped players in the 36-man squad.

Fraser Dingwall, Tommy Freeman, Guy Porter, Patrick Schickerling, Jack van Poortvliet, Jack Walker, Henry Arundell and Will Joseph will hope for their first competitive caps Down Under.

England have not played in Australia since 2016, when they won all three of the games. They also overcame the Wallabies in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and are on an eight-match winning streak against their old rivals.

Jones' side ultimately went on to lose the final to South Africa, but they are turning their attention to next year's World Cup in France as they look for their first title since 2003.

England will open the series against Australia in Perth on July 2, before games in Brisbane and Sydney.

England squad in full

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes, Jonny Hill, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Bevan Rodd, Patrick Schickerling, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis.

Backs: Henry Arundell, Danny Care, Joe Cokanasiga, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Will Joseph, Joe Marchant, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Guy Porter, Harry Randall, Jack van Poortvliet, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward.

Wales great and former British and Irish Lions captain Phil Bennett has died aged 73.

Bennett is widely regarded as one of the best fly-halves to ever play for Wales, making 29 appearances for his country and helping them to two Five Nations grand slams and three triple crowns.

He was also an integral figure on the unbeaten British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 1974, while he enjoyed 20 outings with the Barbarians.

Bennett, who was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2005, was also just the second Welshman to captain the Lions on their 1977 visit to New Zealand.

Former club Scarlets confirmed the passing of their president on Sunday, with executive chairman Simon Muderack saying: "As a club, region and community, we are devastated by this news.

"Wherever the Scarlets travel around the world, people mention the name Phil Bennett. He was an icon of our sport, a rugby superstar, but someone who always remembered his roots.

"There was no finer ambassador of Scarlets Rugby than Phil, a player respected across the rugby world, both during his career and long after he finished playing.

"Phil was a hero and friend to so many people, not only in Llanelli and west Wales, but throughout the game and I am sure a lot of Scarlets supporters will have their own particular stories of the times they met and chatted to 'Benny'. He loved the club and epitomised the values we hold true – humility and pride in our community.

"On behalf of everyone at the Scarlets, we send our heartfelt condolences to Pat, Steven, James and all of Phil's family and friends at this incredibly sad time."

Former rugby league winger Suliasi Vunivalu heads a six-man list of uncapped players selected by Australia for the Test series with England.

Australia coach Dave Rennie named his 35-man squad on Sunday for the three-Test series against Eddie Jones' side, which starts in Perth on July 2.

Jed Holloway, Dave Porecki, lock Cadeyrn Neville and Vunivalu, who switched disciplines in 2019 after a league career with Melbourne Storm, have all been named in their first international squad.

Tighthead prop Pone Fa'amausili and second-rower Nick Frost are the other two uncapped players to be called up, while the in-form Fraser McReight was a notable omission.

The experienced Reece Hodge and Kurtley Beale also missed out through injury, with Michael Hooper leading the Wallabies as captain.

Fly-half Quade Cooper and Fiji-born backs Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete, who all play in Japan, are the three overseas selections allowed to be picked under Rugby Australia rules.

"The core of this squad is a group who have performed strongly for us over the last two seasons, while strong form in Super Rugby Pacific has been rewarded with a handful of new faces," Rennie said.

"The past two years have allowed us to build strong foundations as a group but there's no doubt that we have a lot more in us.

"We're looking forward to working hard and preparing as a group to put in performances that make our supporters proud against England next month."

The group will assemble on the Sunshine Coast from Thursday in preparation for the Optus Stadium opener, with Tests to follow at Brisbane's Lang Park and the Sydney Cricket Ground.
 

Australia squad:

Forwards: Dave Porecki, Lachlan Lonergan, Folau Fainga'a, Taniela Tupou, Scott Sio, Allan Alaalatoa, Pone Fa'amausili, James Slipper, Angus Bell, Matt Philip, Jed Holloway, Nick Frost, Cadeyrn Neville, Darcy Swain, Michael Hooper (captain), Pete Samu, Harry Wilson, Rob Valetini, Rob Leota

Backs: Nic White, Tate McDermott, Jake Gordon, Quade Cooper, James O'Connor, Noah Lolesio, Samu Kerevi, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Len Ikitau, Marika Koroibete, Andrew Kellaway, Tom Banks, Suliasi Vunivalu, Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia

Eddie Jones has included five new faces in a 35-man England training camp ahead of the tour of Australia next month.

Charlie Atkinson, Biyi Alo, Freddie Clarke, Sam Jeffries and Patrick Schickerling have been called up for the first time.

Wing Jonny May is back in the fold after recovering from a knee injury, while Luke Cowan-Dickie (knee) and Anthony Watson (calf) will also be in camp undertaking rehabilitation work.

Players who will feature in Premiership semi-finals this weekend will not report for international duty.

England face the Barbarians at Twickenham a week on Saturday before a three-match series against the Wallabies, starting in Perth on July 2.

Red Rose head coach Jones said: "With a number of players unavailable because of the Premiership semi-finals, we've got the opportunity to call up some new players.

"It's a great opportunity to learn about them and see what potential they have to play a part in the Australia tour.

"We look forward to continuing the good work from our last camp in developing this team on and off the pitch."

 

England training squad:

Forwards: Biyi Alo, Alfie Barbeary, Jamie Blamire, Callum Chick, Freddie Clarke, Tom Curry, Trevor Davison, Charlie Ewels, Will Goodrick-Clarke, Jonny Hill, Ted Hill, Sam Jeffries, George McGuigan, Tom Pearson, Bevan Rodd, Patrick Schickerling, Jack Singleton, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Jack Willis.

Backs: Henry Arundell, Charlie Atkinson, Mark Atkinson, Orlando Bailey, Joe Cokanasiga, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Will Joseph, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Paolo Odogwu, Max Ojomoh, Tom Parton, Adam Radwan, Harry Randall, Dan Robson.

England head coach Eddie Jones has included Henry Arundell in his 36-man training squad ahead of July's Test series with Australia.

London Irish flier Arundell has caught the eye with a string of impressive performances since making his Premiership debut in February. 

The 19-year-old, who is also eligible to represent Scotland and Wales, may now be in line for a maiden senior England appearance against the Barbarians next month.

That match at Twickenham on June 19 will act as a warm-up ahead of July's three-match series in Australia, starting with a showdown at Optus Stadium in Perth.

Arundell is joined in England's latest training squad by fellow uncapped London Irish player Will Joseph, who is the younger brother of former England centre Jonathan.

Owen Farrell is also included after missing the Six Nations with an ankle injury, while Anthony Watson returns to the Red Rose fold following an injury lay-off of his own.

Ten uncapped players have been included in total and seven members of the squad have 50 caps or more, including the returning Mako Vunipola.

Ben Youngs, Joe Marler, Henry Slade and Jamie George are all rested for the three-day training camp, which runs from Sunday to Tuesday.

"We're going to use this camp as an opportunity to prepare a base game for the Barbarians fixture and for a really important Australia tour," Jones said. 

"We'll focus on how we want to play, how we want to be as a team off the field and continue to develop the squad cohesiveness and behaviours.

"It is also 16 months to the World Cup and every minute counts. We want a hard-working and enjoyable environment for the players and make sure we are all on the same page. 

"We want to take a look at some younger players and prepare a base camp for the Barbarians game, particularly as we will be without the Premiership finalists.

"We also want to give some senior players a rest as we get to a crucial part of the season. These players will still be in contention for the Australia tour."

England beat Australia at Twickenham in November, but that preceded a disappointing 2022 Six Nations campaign as they lost three of their five matches and finished third.

 

England training squad

Forwards

Alfie Barbeary (Wasps), Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons), Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Nic Dolly (Leicester Tigers), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons), Tom Pearson (London Irish), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks), Will Stuart (Bath Rugby), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Jack Willis (Wasps).

Backs

Henry Arundell (London Irish), Orlando Bailey (Bath Rugby), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints), George Furbank (Northampton Saints), Will Joseph (London Irish), Louis Lynagh (Harlequins), Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints), Harry Randall (Bristol Bears), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers), Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby).

New Zealand centre Anton Lienert-Brown will be out for around six months after undergoing shoulder surgery.

The midfielder was injured during the Chiefs' 25-0 Super Rugby Pacific defeat to the Blues on Saturday.

Lienert-Brown will go under the knife this week and is facing a long spell on the sidelines.

The Chiefs said: "It has been confirmed that Anton will require surgery on his shoulder that was injured last Saturday. He is expected to return to rugby after approximately 6 months.

"The Chiefs Rugby Club wish Anton all the best for a speedy recovery."

Lienert-Brown posted on Instagram: "Shoulder is going to need a bit more work than I was hoping, going under the knife this week which will put me out for 6 months.

"A bump in the road, but the journey continues. I'll be back. Appreciate all the support."

Lienert-Brown damaged the same shoulder during New Zealand's defeat to Ireland in Dublin last November, ruling him out of a loss to France. 

Former Scotland captain and British and Irish Lion Tom Smith has died at the age of 50.

Smith was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer in 2019 and sadly passed away on Wednesday.

Capped 61 times by his country, the inspirational ex-prop was inducted into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame last year.

Smith played a big part in the 1997 Lions series win in South Africa and toured Australia four years later, becoming the only Scottish player to have played in six consecutive Lions Tests.

Ian McGeechan, who coached Smith along with Jim Telfer in the Lions win over the Springboks, described him as "the greatest Scotland player of the professional era."

Smith played his club rugby for Glasgow Caledonia – now Glasgow Warriors – and Brive before joining Northampton Saints in 2001.

Eddie Jones declared England's Test series against Australia a "vital" staging post on the road to the World Cup, as it was revealed the Sydney Cricket Ground will host the potential tour decider.

England trailed home a distant third in the recent Six Nations, winning just two of five matches for the second successive year, and the progress the Rugby Football Union (RFU) would have hoped to witness was difficult to detect.

With the 2023 Rugby World Cup now less than 18 months away, England will be hoping to show significant improvement when they tackle the Wallabies in three July Tests.

The dates and venues for those fixtures were confirmed on Tuesday, with Perth's Optus Stadium hosting the first game on July 2, before the teams battle at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium seven days later.

Sydney's SCG will then put on the third game on July 16, with international rugby returning to the famous cricket venue for the first time since 1986.

England last toured Australia in 2016, when Jones' then Six Nations grand slam winners got up and running with a 39-28 victory at Suncorp Stadium, on their way to a 3-0 series clean sweep.

Jones, England's Australian head coach, must know there will be pressure on his shoulders if his team fail to perform Down Under this time.

For now, the RFU has his back, with chief executive Bill Sweeney continuing to endorse the 62-year-old's leadership.

Jones said: "The Australia tour is a great opportunity for growth for this team and a good challenge at the end of the season.

"It will be the first time many of the younger players have toured abroad with England and it will be vital practice and experience ahead of the World Cup, along with the 2023 Six Nations. We last went there in 2016 and had a very successful tour.

"Australia will be a good challenge for this team. They have rebuilt strongly and they are well coached by Dave Rennie. We're looking forward to getting out there and continuing the development and journey of this England side."

Wallabies boss Rennie, whose side lost to Scotland, England and Wales on tour last November, is also looking to show that Australia can build momentum for the World Cup in France.

Rennie said: "We talk a lot about wanting to challenge ourselves against the best teams in the world and three Test matches in a row against England is the perfect opportunity to do that."

Eddie Jones' successor as England head coach will be appointed ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) targeting an Englishman for the job.

Australian boss Jones has spent six and a half years in charge of England and is under contract until after next year's showpiece event in France.

The 62-year-old had been under increasing pressure following another disappointing Six Nations showing for England, who finished with two wins from five matches.

However, the RFU this week assured Jones that his job is safe for now, though the former Japan coach was warned that nobody is "bulletproof".

Providing a further update on the position on Saturday, RFU performance director Conor O'Shea suggested a new coach could work alongside Jones at the World Cup before taking over.

"The plan for us will be to appoint that coach before summer 2023," O'Shea said. "Whether that's embedding them into the programme or taking a helicopter view, that's a discussion to be had. 

"We would like to think we will be appointing them in the lead up to 2023. We have so many top English coaches who are in a great position.
 
"Eddie has worked with Steve [Borthwick], Neal [Hatley], Gussy [Paul Gustard]. You look across the Premiership and then you see the quality of people overseas. I want them to be English and I believe [they] should be."

He added: "The rationale is we need to appoint so we have got time to embed the new coaching team and allow them to hit the ground running. Eddie is fully aware and knows what we want to do. 

"There will be some people who say that will disturb the World Cup prep because people will be looking over their shoulder.

"[Fabien] Galthie was appointed before the 2019 World Cup and it's the right thing to do because we need to get ready for the 2024 Six Nations."

The RFU's focus on a homegrown coach would rule the likes of Warren Gatland, Steve Hansen and Rassie Erasmus out of the running, but chief executive Bill Sweeney is confident the right approach is being taken.

"We believe we've got such a wealth of English coaches in the game," he said. "As a leading rugby nation we should be developing English coaches and an English style of play. 

"That should be long-term and therefore the preference would be to have an English setup as far as I'm concerned. 

"We've got a war room that's got every English coach you can imagine – based here and based internationally. We've got an advanced succession plan in place."

Eddie Jones has been assured his job as England head coach is safe for now.

A disappointing Six Nations performance does not appear to have substantially altered the Rugby Football Union's stance on the former Australia and Japan coach.

It means Jones is set to lead England on their tour when they face the Wallabies three times in July, and increases the likelihood he will remain in charge heading into a World Cup year. Jones has a contract that runs to the end of the 2023 World Cup in France, and the 62-year-old intends to step away from the job after that tournament.

England's fortunes have nosedived since winning the 2020 Six Nations, and the Triple Crown in that championship. They have finished with two wins from five Six Nations games in each of the last two campaigns, which in 2021 saw them finish fifth but this time around was good enough for third place.

That was a distant third to second-placed Ireland, however, and England could not prevent France clinching a Grand Slam when the teams met on Saturday evening in Paris.

An RFU spokesperson said: "Eddie Jones is building a new England team and against a clear strategy we are encouraged by the solid progress the team has made during this Six Nations campaign."

England were narrowly beaten by Scotland, before defeating Italy and Wales, raising hopes of a strong finish to the championship.

Yet a 32-15 Twickenham loss to lreland, after Charlie Ewels was sent off in the second minute, ended hopes of a championship challenge, and was followed by England going down 25-13 at the Stade de France.

The spokesperson added: "Eddie and his team of coaches and players will conduct a full review as is normal after each tournament.

"The RFU advisory panel which consists of board and executive members, former players and coaches along with Eddie will also undertake a de-brief to discuss the strong positive steps forward during this campaign and the areas we need to address.

"The advisory group has been in place since 2019, and it meets regularly both during and after each tournament to evaluate clear targets and progression.

"The RFU continues to fully support Eddie, the coaching team and players and we are excited about the summer tour and the progress to rebuild a winning England team."

England head coach Eddie Jones conceded he had not "done a good enough job" after his side suffered a 25-13 loss to France, who secured a long-awaited Six Nations title and Grand Slam on Saturday.

A second-half try from Freddie Steward gave England hope, but Antoine Dupont went over on the hour to secure victory for Les Bleus at the Parc des Princes.

It was England's third defeat of the tournament, and the third time they have lost as many under the Australian, having done so just twice in 16 editions before his appointment in 2015.

Questions have been asked about Jones' position, but following the defeat, the 62-year-old said they were "for other people".

"That is not a question I need to answer," he said. "I just do my job, it is a question for other people to answer. I am not even thinking about that."

"I'm disappointed, disappointed for the fans, for the players, I obviously haven't done a good enough job, I accept that, but we're moving in the right direction. The results aren't good enough. When you rebuild a team it takes time.

"France are deserved champions of the Six Nations, they are the best team, but we had enough chances to win that game, we just didn't put them away, we were not quite clinical enough in doing that.

"That has been a little bit of the story of us in the Six Nations, we have put ourselves in position to win the three games we have lost but not been clinical enough, not been good enough, particularly in some of our clean out work to win those games.

"So that is disappointing, but the spirit we showed is going to make sure this team keeps moving in the right direction."

England finished in third-place after Wales' shock loss to Italy and Ireland's win over Scotland in the final round of matches in the 2022 tournament.

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