Victory in decider vs Australia greater than 3-0 sweep, Nowell says

Jack Nowell said ahead of a winner-takes-all clash between England and Australia on Saturday that defeating the Wallabies in the series decider would eclipse the 3-0 victory his team recorded in 2016 as part of an 18-match winning streak.

The match will take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Earlier, coach Eddie Jones led his team to the best rugby since 2019 his team had ever produced, winning 25-17 over Australia in the second Test.

“If I look back to last time we were out here, winning 3-0 was special,” Nowell, who participated in all three 2016 wins, said.

“But to come from 1-0 down – and hopefully the idea is to be 2-1 at the end of it – is hopefully something I will remember more.”

England lost four consecutive matches before making a comeback in Brisbane last weekend.

“We have had some difficult situations,” Nowell continued. “We let ourselves down and lost a few games and those results, when they back up, are hard to take. But they fired us up to go again.

“The thing we spoke about was that, if we lost the second Test, we lose the series. It was as simple as that and when you keep it that simple, it frees us up on the field. The first half, we were dominant, and then Australia came back. But where we are as a squad, we were able to handle that and fire through it, especially the forwards.”

Nowell said the fact that England almost lost the series kept his squad motivated.

“We had a lot riding on the second Test and, if we had lost, the series was over,” he said. “When that’s in the front of your minds going into a game, it’s all or nothing.”



Missing personnel

England is at risk of losing the series again. The fact that Sam Underhill was ruled out of their last outing in Sidney due to a concussion does not help.

The Bath openside became the third England player to retire from the series due to a brain injury. Earlier, Australia’s Jordan Petaia and Allan Alaalatoa met the same fate.

Petaia was removed from the field in the fifth minute when he attempted a tackle. Izaia Perese, who replaced Petaia, was later similarly removed from the match after injuring his knee.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, however, insisted that losing some of his players was not the reason his side lost last Saturday’s match.



“We had a few [injuries], but it wasn’t the reason we lost tonight,” he said. “We lost the collisions early and they choked us down our half for 30 minutes and we were behind 19-0.

“We’ve got to give them credit⁠. They put themselves in the right part of the field and kicked six penalties, so we’ve got to look at our discipline.”

Underhill joined Tom Curry and second-row Maro Itoje by removing himself from the series, and England is running out of flankers.

Lewis Ludlam, who came off the bench in the first two Tests, will fill the number seven jersey on Saturday, joining Jack Willis, who recently recovered from a rib injury.

Author: Ronald Butler