England’s rugby team are back after famous Summer Series win in Sydney

England's rugby team are back after famous Summer Series win
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England’s rugby team are back! Beating the Wallabies after a famous Summer Series win on their hallowed turf of the SCG that was an outstanding achievement.

It wasn’t pretty but it was never going to be with a series on the line against their arch enemies away from home. 1-0 down and the knives sharpening around Eddie Jones, England dug deep to win these last two weekends. It augurs well with the 2023 World Cup just around the corner.

England’s rugby team are back after famous Summer Series win

It wasn’t just the old heads who guided England home, the likes of Jack van Poortvliet and Tommy Freeman played their part in the victory. Charlie Inglefield reviews the series and who made an impression with the 2023 Rugby World Cup in mind.

Freeman and van Poortvliet stake their claim

It was a huge call for Eddie Jones to take off the vastly experienced Danny Care just before halftime. But, it proved to be a masterstroke by the England coach because Jack van Poortvliet had a magnificent second half. Jones was under huge pressure after the Perth debacle but nobody can question his courage.

Making a change in a decider by replacing one of his most experienced players with one of his least experienced players was a massive call. van Poortvliet delivered, by moving England’s pack around with aplomb, and having the vision to put Freddie Steward in before halftime.

 

The scrumhalf position has been a problem for England since the 2019 World Cup. Ben Youngs, Harry Randall, Alex Mitchell, and Raffi Quirke have been battling it out without any of them properly convincing. van Poortvliet looks like the real deal and the others including Danny Care are now playing catch up. He has a maturity that impresses everyone in the England set-up and will only get better.

If England’s pack continues their renaissance under van Poortvliet’s attacking play – which is good already – they will only get better. van Poortvliet is one of the finds of the tour and has every chance of going to France next year.

Arundell and Freeman give a glimpse of the future

Harry Arundell and Tommy Freeman are two of England’s most exciting attacking prospects. Arundell’s incredible try in the first test gave England hope that they could find a way back in this series. His try was an astounding piece of power and skill – and it was his first touch at international level. Arundell must be considered for England’s RWC campaign given his x-factor.

Arundell is an excitement machine and is a phenomenal talent.

Tommy Freeman was another youngster who impressed. He was excellent against the Barbarians and was the one England back who regularly threatened the Wallaby defence in Sydney. Time will tell on what position would suit Freeman best.

He does not have express pace but, he is capable of playing anywhere in the back three. Freeman looks comfortable at this level and with more exposure at test level he will be a valuable asset for England rugby.

For the first time in a while, there was a dependability about England’s set-piece. It was a sure sign that England’s rugby team are back. Maybe the reference ‘back to the future’ is apt for this analysis. Billy Vunipola has returned to great effect and gave England more power up front. The heavy Saracens’ presence upfront will serve England well as they look to get back to the summit of world rugby in the next 18 months.

Like in 2019, England relied on their territory and kicking game to assert their dominance and it worked. The visitors suffocated Australia with their line speed in defence, and had the fitness to keep to make their tackles. Vunipola has surely done enough to make himself the incumbent at number eight for the Autumn internationals and [probably] the World Cup barring injury.

Analysis: England’s attack not good enough…yet

For all of the positives that have come out of these last two weeks, England’s attack is still a big problem. If Eddie Jones’ team are to mount a serious challenge next year, they have to sort out their attack from first receiver to the outside edges.

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Martin Gleeson, England’s attack coach, has not thus far found the keys to success. England has the odd promising foray across the three tests but the Wallabies basically coped well with England’s attacking intent. The partnership of Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell is a work in progress. Rather like it was with George Ford and Owen Farrell. Jones is likely to stick with these two and that is understandable. However, Manu Tuilagi’s return cannot come soon enough regardless of what people say about his injuries.

Tuilagi gets England over the gain-line which will allow Smith that extra yard or so to showcase his skills. Farrell’s offloading and vision looked sharper than Smith’s over the three tests, which bodes well for England if Smith can rediscover his zip from earlier this year. Having a physical presence like Tuilagi will help this duo get their partnership going.

Summer Series win a pressure relief for England Rugby

Eddie Jones deserves huge credit in the way he guided England to a 2-1 series win. The pressure he received from the press let alone his fellow Australians was considerable. Jones did not allow the outside noise to affect his strategy of getting England back into the series. A series win in Australia is a serious achievement. There is now no doubt that Jones will take England through to the World Cup and everyone who supports England rugby needs to get behind him. No matter how infuriating he can be.

For all of England’s improvements, they are still well below the level that France and Ireland are currently playing at. Ireland’s domination over the All Blacks was mightily impressive. The Irish blew the All Blacks away with their pace and execution. Are England at that level at the moment? No. But neither are the Springboks, the Wallabies, or the All Blacks.

England’s rugby team are back, and, has remembered ‘how to win’ again. Now to continue that trend into Autumn and beyond.

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Australia 17 – Tries: Wright, Fainga’a; Conversions: Noah Lolesio (2); Penalty: Lolesio

England 21 – Tries: Steward, Smith; Con: Owen Farrell; Pens: Farrell (3)

 

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