Courtney Lawes, England rugby captain, said that the Australia team’s trash-talking before the match had fueled the fire in his team. England managed to defeat the Wallabies in the third Test which was held in Sydney and led the series 2-1. This win allows them to bring home Ella Mobbs Cup.
“They were talking smack about us,” Lawes told the media. “That motivated us a bit but the boys stuck together, stuck to our guns.”
Lawes also mentioned an incident during the second Test held in Brisbane, where Australia’s Suliasi Vunivalu had joked about “shutting the Pommies up” in the buildup.
At that time, Australia’s scrum-half Nic White had reported England’s off-the-ball issues involving. This was not the only incident between the team as Australian players had repeatedly made comments about the behaviour of England’s prop Ellis Genge and second row Jonny Hill.
Genge backed Lawes’ comment by saying, “They came out in the press with a bit of smack and it got us up for the last one.”
England’s resolution to win was especially shown during the closing stages. At that time, the Australian team had started to fight back. Fly-half Marcus Smith and outstanding Freddie Steward made tries that awarded England with 11 points. In this game, Owen Farrell gave sufficient for England to prevent retaliation from the Wallabies. The contribution led this team to a dogged 21-17 win.
The Test series started in Perth with Australia winning that first match. In the second series, England fought back and won in Brisbane. Lawes kept rallying the team to maintain their spirit until they finally became the champion.
Lawes had spoken to the press about the difficulty in this season. According to him, matches were always tough towards the closing.
“It was tough,” Lawes said. “I’ve spoken through the whole tour about how, as a team, we want to have that feeling of playing for each other.
“When you are in those kinds of scenarios, that’s the only thing that gets you through. Your body is broken, you’ve played for 11 months, you’re at the end of a tough tour and you’re under the cosh.”
England’s head coach Eddie Jones had praised his captain for showing resilience throughout the season. He even said that Lawes “needs a good rest now” after the conclusion of this season.
Jones himself had made a surprising choice during the last Test match. He did a tactical replacement by taking out scrum-half Danny Care on 37 minutes.
Regarding this season, Jones shared a similar sentiment with Lawes, calling it “tough”. The coach explained, “We had a more established team in 2016 coming on the back of the Grand Slam and coming on the back of a 2015 team.”
As the series ended, the squad will head back to England. However, Jones and his staff will visit Melbourne for a week to learn about “Aussies Rules”.
They will also meet Melbourne’s rugby team, the Melbourne Storm to gain insights. Jones explained that his visit aims to improve England’s team coaching system.
“We want to get better as coaches,” Jones stated. “We are always asking players to keep getting better, so we need to be role models, so we’ll have a good week down there.”