How Eddie Jones transformed the England Rugby team – first year in charge 2016

In 2015 England were dumped out of the World Cup in the group stages – the first ever country to endure that ignominy.

Stuart Lancaster, having taken over from Martin Johnson, turned England from one of the most hated countries in world rugby to somewhere approaching likeable in his four-year cycle that was supposed to end in triumph at Twickenham in 2015.

Lancaster fell on his sword after losses to Wales and Australia meant the Red Rose could not emerge from the 'Group of Death' – even on home soil.

Eddie Jones, having masterminded a stunning win for Japan over the Springboks, took over.

And in his four-year cycle he transformed England into a team in his image – widely-disliked, aggressive, feared and firmly among the best three in the world.

The team fell short in the World Cup Final last year – a dominant South Africa pack overpowering what was then the most strongest team in the Northern Hemisphere.

But with the players at his disposal – how exactly did Eddie do it? What changes did he make from Lancaster? Which players failed to cut the Jones mustard?

Looking at the 2015 squad as a starting point I am going to look at the evolution of players and evolution of the squad over the past four years.

The 2015 World Cup squad

Jamie George, Rob Webber, Tom Youngs, Kieran Brookes, Dan Cole, Joe Marler, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Geoff Parling, James Haskell, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw (C), Billy Vunipola, Tom Wood, Danny Care, Richard Wigglesworth, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Brad Barritt, Jonathan Joseph, Henry Slade, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson, Mike Brown, Alex Goode (Nick Easter was called up after injury to Billy Vunipola).

There are, of course, some caveats with this squad. Firstly human wrecking ball Tuilagi was ruled out due to disciplinary indiscretions and likewise Hartley was dropped after a four-week ban for headbutting George in May 2015.

They were both Lancaster's choices – either could have been in the squad although there were some doubts about Tuilagi's fitness.

But Lancaster's tenure as head coach had been under-scored by a 'team effort' mentality and indiscretions were frowned upon.

Playing-wise if there was one consistent critique of Lancaster it was always his centre combinations.

Owing mostly to Tuilagi's poor injury and disciplinary record Lancaster never really settled on a first-choice pairing. Billy Twelvetrees had been trialled and discarded, Danny Cipriani was seen as an indulgence despite searing club form.

Lancaster's 2015 squad selection raised more than a few eyebrows with consistent try-scorer Luther Burrell (more on him later) ruled out in place of League convert Burgess who had just two Test caps to his name and was playing at flanker for club Bath.

However there was guile in the squad with Joseph and a young Slade.

England vs Wales 26/9/2015 (25 -28)

Marler, Youngs, Cole, Parling, Lawes, Wood, B Vunipola, Robshaw, Youngs, Farrell, Burgess, Barritt, May, Watson, Brown (subs: Webber, M Vunipola, Brookes, Launchbury, Haskell, Wigglesworth, Ford)

The key match. Somehow an injury-ravaged Wales – playing a scrum half on the wing – came from behind to stun the hosts and win 28-25.

Ford was named on the bench as Lancaster opted for the bruising centre combination of Burgess and Barritt.

England were ahead when Ford came on for Burgess in the second half before the team seemed to lose their bottle.

A decision by captain Robshaw to kick for the corner rather than settle for a draw drew intense scrutiny when it backfired.

England should have won but, as was the case with numerous Lancaster performances, lacked the killer cutting edge.

England vs Australia 3/10/2015 (13 – 33)

Marler, Youngs, Cole, Launchbury, Parling, Wood, Robshaw, Morgan, Youngs, Farrell, Barritt, Joseph, May, Watson, Brown (subs: Burgess, Ford, Wigglesworth, M Vunipola, Webber, Brookes, Kruis, Easter)

A humbling. A thrashing. A humiliation on the world stage. The death knell for Lancaster.

The head coach didn't ring the changes after the Wales comeback with Lawes dropped for Launchbury and Burgess replaced by Joseph in the centres (another different combination).

Morgan replaced the injured B Vunipola at number 8.

In truth England were never really in the match with Australia's devastating attack tearing the defence apart all too easily with Bernard Foley running the game from 10.

But it was perhaps this game which highlighted another of England's consistent flaws under Lancaster – the breakdown.

Michael Hooper and David Pocock had the run of Twickenham with turnover after turnover as soon as an England player got isolated.

England could never get a foothold despite 7 line breaks to Australia's 5 and making 150 more total metres with their running game.

England became the first and thus far only side to get knocked out in the group stages of their own World Cup.

England vs Uruguay 10/10/2015 (60-3)

M Vunipola, Youngs, Cole, Launchbury, Parling, Haskell, Robshaw, Easter, Care, Ford, Farrell, Slade, Nowell, Watson, Goode (subs: Brown, Joseph, Wigglesworth, Marler, George, Wilson, Kruis, Wood)

It's hard to look too much into a 60-3 thrashing but there are some interesting things to look at.

For one – this is the start of the Ford-Farrell axis at 10-12 which Eddie Jones built Six Nations triumphs around. And M Vunipola started rather than Marler with Haskell also preferred in the back row over Wood in the wake of the Australia defeat.

Goode was given the nod at full back over Brown.

George also played most of the game after coming on for an injured Youngs in the 30th minute.

An aged Easter and a young Nowell scored a hat-trick each with Watson scoring twice and Slade also touching down in the dead-rubber.

Enter Eddie Jones

Japan were desperately unlucky not to get out of their World Cup group in 2015 after shocking with the world with their victory over South Africa in Brighton.

The result immediately made Jones, already highly regarded, the favourite for the England job and once Lancaster decided to resign the bosses at Twickenham got their man (Jones had been lined up to coach the Super Rugby outfit the Stormers but resigned without ever coaching a game).

Even from the beginning Eddie made it clear what his goal was – the 2019 World Cup.

Squad for Six Nations 2016

Josh Beaumont, Cole, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jack Clifford, George, Hartley, Haskell, Paul Hill, Maro Itoje, Kruis, Matt Kvesic (injury replacement for Dave Ewers), Launchbury, Lawes, Marler, Matt Mullan, Robshaw, Henry Thomas (injury replacement for Kieran Brookes), B Vunipola, M Vunipola

Chris Ashton, Brown, Care, Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto (injury replacement for Tuilagi), Farrell, Ford, Goode, Sam Hill (injury replacement for Henry Slade), Joseph, Nowell, Watson, Marland Yarde, B Youngs

Jones was not shy about wielding the axe. Tom Youngs, Tom Wood, Geoff Parling and Brad Barritt, who had all started both key WC matches the previous autumn, were gone.

Likewise with Lancaster there was no place in the 33 for Cipriani (much more on him later).

Chris Ashton and Hartley were back but there was no space for Jonny May. The exciting Saracen lock Maro Itoje was called up for the tournament.


Luther Burrell was not recalled after his axing and by this point Sam Burgess had returned to League, his Union experiment over.

The headline name many outlets went with as an exciting talent was Sale number 8 Josh Beaumont, then just 22 and son of former England captain Bill Beaumont. At this stage B Vunipola wasn't the transformative player he is now.

Jones wouldn't be drawn on the captaincy question at first but Hartley was tipped – whereas some ex-pros thought Launchbury would be the right call he had been MOTM in the defeat to Australia.

England vs Scotland 6/2/2016 (15-9)

Marler, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Kruis, Robshaw, Haskell, B Vunipola, Care, Ford, Farrell, Nowell, Watson, Brown (subs: George, M Vunipola, Lawes, Clifford, Youngs)

England got off to a winning start under Eddie Jones and it was with Ford-Farrell in the 10-12 axis albeit with Joseph at 13 and not Slade (as it had been against Uruguay) who had an injury.

There were three debutants on the bench in Devoto, Clifford and Paul Hill.

But those expecting a Jones revolution were disappointed – although handing the captaincy to a player with Hartley's disciplinary record raised eyebrows. Hartley hadn't even been in the squad in 2015 now he was leading England out at Murrayfield.

But Robshaw survived, partnered with Haskell who became a player transformed on the international stage under Jones' tutelage.

Kruis was able to reach out and score after a strong England scrum and in the second half Nowell dove over in the corner after Ford, B Vunipola and Farrell combined to give him space out wide.

Interesting observations: Hartley chosen as captain, Devoto not making it off the bench. Paul Hill and Goode also did not come off the bench.

England vs Italy 14/2/2016 (40-9)

M Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Lawes, Kruis, Robshaw, Haskell, B Vunipola, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Joseph, Nowell, Watson, Brown (subs: George, Marler, Hill, Launchbury, Itoje, Clifford, Care, Goode).

Generally the easiest game of the Six Nations and in 2016 it was no different with England running out comfortable winners.

Two changes in the pack with Marler and Lawes called in for Vunipola and Launchbury. Youngs started over Care at scrum half.

England's first try showed Farrell, B Vunipola and Ford combining again for the fly half (Ford, that is) to dot down in the corner and put England on their way to a comfortable win.

Jonathan Joseph pounced on a poor pass to score England's second, then the outside centre got on the end of a Care grubber for a second and he charged through a tackle from 5 metres out to complete his hat-trick.

England's final try came from Ford passing to sub George who offloaded to Farrell to go over.

Interesting observations: Debuts were handed out to Hill, Clifford and Itoje off the bench. Only one of those would go on to cement themselves at the international level.

England vs Ireland 27/2/16 (21-10)

Marler, Hartley, Cole, Itoje, Kruis, Robshaw, Haskell, B Vunipola, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Joseph, Nowell, Watson, Brown (subs: George, M Vunipola, Lawes, Clifford, Care, Daly)

A close game in the first half Haskell was sent to the bin for a late and high hit on Conor Murray.

Ireland went 10-6 ahead but quick tries from Watson (check out Robshaw's lovely pass on this one)

and Mike Brown (Ford-Farrell working well together again) gave England a 21-10 win with no points scored in the final quarter of the game.

First start for Maro Itoje alongside clubmate George Kruis with Jones close to finding a consistent pack to go with his back three, his 10-12-13 and his seemingly first-choice backrow of Haskell, Robshaw and Vunipola – the latter of whom won MOTM for a barnstorming performance ball in hand, making more metres than the entire Ireland team in the first half.

After the match Jones heaped praise his number 8: "Vunipola was great. He just loves playing rugby. He loves the team environment and loves playing for England."

Interesting observations: Daly made his Test debut coming off the bench to replace Farrell at inside centre, Paul Hill and Goode only players not to come off the bench.

England vs Wales 12/3/16 (25-21)

Marler, Hartley, Cole, Itoje, Kruis, Robshaw, Haskell, B Vunipola, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Joseph, Nowell, Watson, Brown (subs: Cowan-Dickie, M Vunipola, Brookes, Launchbury, Clifford, Care, Tuilagi, Daly).

Eddie Jones made no changes to his starting 15 but on the bench, returning from international exile, sat Manu Tuilagi.

But this was Maro Itoje's coming out party on the international stage. The young lock was simply everywhere, stealing lineouts, winning turnovers and carrying the ball. He even played a key role in Watson's try.

After grinding out a 9-0 lead with three Farrell penalties, England finally broke free. Itoje broke two tackles before passing to Brown who fixed his man then put Watson in the corner.

Unlike in the World Cup England's breakdown game actually became a plus with a strong counter ruck giving the men in white a penalty which gave them a 19-0 lead.

Farrell extended England's lead to 25-7 but two quick tries against 14-man England made it an edgy finish.

Interesting observations: Tuilagi coming on for a struggling Ford with Farrell moving to fly half, Daly this time coming on at 13 in place of Joseph and Kieran Brookes, subbed on for Hartley, has never played for England again.

England vs France 19/3/16 (31-21)

M Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Itoje, Kruis, Robshaw, Haskell, B Vunipola, Care, Ford, Farrell, Joseph, Nowell, Watson, Brown (subs: Cowan-Dickie, Marler, Clifford, Youngs)

Care was picked over Youngs was the only change for Eddie Jones as England hunted for an elusive Grand Slam and the scrum half earned his call up quickly with a sniping run in the 12 minute giving England a 10-3 lead.

Cole rumbled over for the second try but England's indiscipline meant France clawed it back to 17-12 at half time.

But the Grand Slam was secured when Vunipola picked it up from the base of the scrum, crashed over the half-way line giving England quick front foot ball. Youngs, on for Care, was able to chip ahead for Watson to produce a fine finish in the corner.

Hartley was stretchered off after a head knock but was still able to lift the trophy after full time.

Interesting observations: Eddie Jones elected to make just four substitutions with Brookes, Launchbury, Tuilagi and Daly all left on the bench. Despite Care's early score Jones still replaced him with Youngs in the 43 minute – a change which paid dividends with England's final score.

What did Jones learn?

By the end of the tournament England had a nailed-on back row with Haskell, Robshaw and Vunipola with the backs also consistent from 10 through 15.

It was obvious some players were competing for the same position: Marler and Vunipola at loose head, Care and Youngs at scrum half but in the space of just three games Itoje had made himself almost indispensable at second row.

Brookes out as a prop replacement.

The Ford-Farrell axis was working wonders with Joseph's form also quietening the clamour for Tuilagi – although Jones continued to talk to the Leicester centre.

Questions about Hartley's captaincy had evaporated in the space of five games.

England's Australia tour squad

Cowan-Dickie, George, Hartley, Cole, Genge, Hill, Mullan, Sinckler, Vunipola, Itoje, Kruis, Launchbury, Lawes, Clifford, Harrison, Haskell, Robshaw, Vunipola, Care, Youngs, Farrell, Ford, Burrell, Daly, Joseph, Slade, Te'o, Nowell, Watson, Yarde, Brown, Goode (also called up for Wales match Attwood, Devoto, Kvesic, Taylor)

Lots to look at with this bumper squad including first call ups for the 21-year-old Ellis Genge and 23-year-old Kyle Sinckler.

The other uncapped call ups were Ben Te'o and Teimana Harrison. Despite being injured Manu Tuilagi made the cut but there was no space for the in-form Ashton who had failed to even make the squad for any of England's Six Nations victories earlier in the year.

Marland Yarde was preferred as a wing option and a certain Luther Burrell was back.

Cipriani, Kvesic, Brookes and Attwood were deemed surplus to requirements for the trip Down Under after being called up for the Wales match.

Yarde's selection over Ashton raised eyebrows due to his club form but Jones said: “Ashton is unlucky. He’s a great finisher, but I want a bit more than that … in my eyes he’s not in the top three wings in England.”

But it was with the exiled Brookes that Jones was most cut-throat: “With front-rowers you need guys who want to put their body on the line.”

England vs Wales 29/5/2016 (27-13)

Mullan, Hartley, Cole, Lawes, Launchbury, Harrison, Haskell, Clifford, Youngs, Ford, Burrell, Joseph, Yarde, Watson, Brown (subs: Genge, Taylor, Hill, Attwood, Kvesic, Devoto, Daly, Care)

This was as close as Test match rugby comes to a friendly and Jones, having talked-up Wales as 'red-hot favourites' pre-match, picked a radically different team ahead of the tour to Australia – in no small part due to the Premiership final played the day before between Sarries and Exeter).

There was no Kruis, Lawes, George, Farrell, either Vunipola, Goode, Nowell, Slade or Cowan-Dickie.

This gave Burrell a chance to stake his claim on a centre shirt ahead of the tour, and Harrison had his debut on the back row with Clifford at number 8.

England's first score by Burrell showed perhaps what the team had missed in the World Cup the year prior, a fantastic line by the Inside Centre was picked out by Youngs following a line-out maul. Burrell was able to reach out and touch down.

Watson broke a tackle and finished behind his head as he fell to score England's second – the winger quickly becoming one of the best finishers in the game.

England's third try came off a line out with Youngs throwing a dummy before sniping through.

Clifford got his first try in an England shirt when Cole knocked down (not forwards) a Biggar pass, the loose ball fell to the back-rower who ran in from 30 metres.

Yarde crowned a strong performance from a changed England team after Lawes handed-off Roberts and offloaded it to the winger.

Interesting observations: Ford missed 6/7 kicks at goal which would have given England a lot more comfortable victory – despite their high penalty count (12). Genge, Taylor and Devoto (at long last) all made their debuts from the bench. Joe Launchbury winning MOTM underlined England's strength in the second row.

England vs Australia 11/6/2016 (39-28)

M Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Itoje, Kruis, Robshaw, Haskell, B Vunipola, Youngs, Farrell, Burrell, Joseph, Yarde, Watson, Brown (subs: Cowan-Dickie, Mullan, Hill, Launchbury, Lawes, Care, Ford, Nowell)

Burrell's performance against Wales was good enough for him to get the nod at 12 with Ford dropping to the bench… but not for long.

Itoje and Kruis started in second row with no place in the squad for Harrison and Clifford despite starting the previous game.

England started terribly with the defensive line in particular being cut to ribbons by Australia. Folau burst through a gap between B Vunipola and Burrell before the recycled ball found its way back to Hooper who easily touched down.

Folau broke through a poor Farrell tackle attempt to score and Australia looked in control.

Jones acted decisively – Burrell was hooked for Ford with the Ford-Farrell axis returning.

Farrell was perfect from the boot to claw England back to 10-9 before Joseph pounced on sloppy play to give England an unexpected lead.

Second half a looping Ford pass – after strong work by the forwards – found Yarde in acres of space to dot down.

Hooper scored again before Kerevi charged over but Farrell's boot kept England in front until the dying minutes when Ford was able to dink it through for sub Nowell to score.

Interesting observations: Eddie Jones didn't blink before replacing Burrell in the 28th minute. Haskell cemented his re-birth with a MOTM performance, especially in defence making 18 tackles and winning three turnovers. England were outclassed at the breakdown in the World Cup. Not here.

Burrell has not played for England since.

England vs Australia 18/6/2016 (23-7)

M Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Itoje, Kruis, Robshaw, Haskell, B Vunipola, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Joseph, Nowell, Watson, Brown (subs: George, Mullan, Hill, Launchbury, Lawes, Clifford, Care, Daly)

Despite scoring the previous week there was no space for Yarde in the 23 and Burrell also faced the humiliation of not even being in the squad with Daly preferred as a centre option on the bench.

The previous week showed England could go punch-for-punch with the Australians at the breakdown and in the backline – this was a victory for defence (England had just 29% possession).

A rolling maul saw Hartley touch down to draw first blood before Australia responded with a similar score.

Australia should have scored again just before the end of the first half but Brown tackled well, got to his feet and spoiled the ball. England's forwards weren't the only ones working on their breakdown game.

Robshaw, once maligned, won a key turnover with Australia just one metre out and England kept immaculate discipline throughout.

However they did however struggle at the lineout with Kruis replaced with Lawes in the 55 minute.

But it didn't matter in the end with sub hooker George kicking it through before Farrell kept it on the toe to score. England won the Cook Cup.

Interesting observations: Much has been made of England's decision to go with a 5-2 split (forwards/backs) on the bench since the 2019 World Cup but that was the case here with the only backs Care and the versatile Daly. Hartley named MOTM but Haskell, who limed off, was imperious.

England vs Australia 25/6/16 (44-40)

M Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Itoje, Kruis, Robshaw, Harrison, B Vunipola, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Joseph, Nowell, Watson, Brown (subs: George, Mullan, Hill, Launchbury, Lawes, Clifford, Care, Daly)

A shootout. Cole scored first for England, then Foley answered back before Haylett-Petty put the Wallabies ahead.

Watson kicked ahead for Brown to score and give England the lead but the interesting thing was what happened next: Harrison (who replaced an injured Haskell in the back row) was hooked, the second substitution of its kind in three test matches, with Lawes coming on to play second row and, for the first time, Itoje packing down as a flanker.

Both sides exchanged scores in what was a sloppy second half.

George scored England's final try leading to a 44-40 victory and a 3-0 series win Down Under.

Interesting observations: This was the first time Itoje played as a flanker, Goerge's performances in this and the 2 Test appears to have cemented him firmly as the No2 hooker in the squad. James Haskell, who had been so good in those first two Test matches, never really recovered from his foot injury.

Autumn internationals 2016 squad:

Attwood, Cole, Ewels, Genge, George, Harrison, Hartley, Hughes, Launchbury, Lawes, Marler, Morgan, Robshaw, Sinckler, Taylor, Vunipola, Vunipola, Wood, Brown, Care, Daly, Farrell, Ford, Goode, Haley, Joseph, Lozowski, May, Rokodunguni, Slade, Te'o, Yarde, Youngs

A bumper 33-man squad and for the first time under Eddie Jones both Morgan and Wood returned to the international fold.

Both were the beneficiaries of a back row injury crisis that ruled out Haskell, Clifford, Sam Jones, Mike Williams and Itoje.

There were six uncapped players in the squad – Sinckler (who had been in previous squads), Nathan Hughes, Mike Haley, Alex Lozowski and Te'o.

No Kruis, Itoje or Watson due to injury meaning England had to switch not only their second rows but also their back three.

England vs South Africa 12/11/2016 (37-21)

M Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Lawes, Robshaw, Wood, B Vunipola, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Daly, May, Yarde, Brown (subs: George, Marler, Sinckler, Attwood, Hughes, Care, Te'o, Joseph)

Wood and May both made their first starts under Eddie Jones at Twickenham against the Springboks with Daly also enjoying his first full cap (at outside centre).

England had failed to beat the Springboks in their previous 12 meetings over 10 years but this ended up a comfortable win for the home side.

Daly and May were both vital for England's first score – albeit in different ways. It was Daly's decoy run that threw off the South Africa defence and Yarde found Brown and then May who demonstrated his superfluous finishing skills.

May likewise played a key role in England's second try, pressuring a retreating SA into a mistake before a succession of spills ended up with Lawes scoring.

But it was Youngs who took home MOTM, sniping well, selling dummies left, right and centre around the fringes.

Interesting observations: Daly nailing a penalty from beyond the halfway line to end the first half and give England a 20-9 lead. Sinckler finally made his debut off the bench coming on for ever-present-starter Cole. Likewise Te'o earned his first cap coming on for Ford. At the end of the game Daly was playing wing with Joseph back at 13.

England vs Fiji 19/11/2016 (58-15)

M Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Lawes, Harrison, Robshaw, B Vunipola, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Joseph, Daly, Rokoduguni, Goode (subs: George, Marler, Sinckler, Ewels, Hughes, Care, Te'o, Slade)

Eddies Jones used the game against Fiji to give Rokoduguni and Goode both their first starts under his leadership with Rokodugini making his England debut against the country of his birth.

Harrison was chosen as the back row option with no space in the squad for Wood and Joseph was recalled with Daly moving to left wing and Goode starting at full back.

England scored 9 tries to win by a record margin over the Pacific islanders.

Joseph opened the scoring before Daly showed his class with ball in hand to finish from 30 metres out.

Rokoduguni showed his strength in the corner for England's third before two mauls made it five tries before half time.

Fiji showed some fight in the second half with one score in the corner perhaps showing Rokoduguni's defensive frailties.

Goode scored his first international try in the second half before Joseph again took advantage of a sloppy pass to score.

Rokoduguni dotted down for a second before Launchbury like wise crossed the white-wash.

Hard to read too much into such a comprehensive win against a lacklustre team but Rokoduguni showed his finishing skills and Daly showed his versatility.

Interesting observations: Harrison once again substituted early, this time in the 47 minute to give Hughes his debut. Te'o made his debut off the bench for Farrell and Slade returned to the team when he was subbed on for Jospeh in the 65 minute. Ewels came on for his debut replacing Lawes.

England vs Argentina 26/11/2016 (27-14)

M Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Lawes, Kruis, Robshaw, Wood, B Vunipola, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Joseph, Daly, May, Brown (subs: George, Marler, Sinckler, Ewels, Harrison, Care, Slade).

Wood returned to the squad and the starting 15 with Launchbury missing out – this is the same back three as lost to Australia and Wales 12 months prior. Daly once again started on the wing this time alongside May and Brown.

An early red card for Daly meant this wasn't the easy game many expected but England still ended up winning comfortably despite 10 minutes with just 13 players.

It was a dirty game for both sides with each side seeing both red and yellow cards.

England's first try (a penalty try) came from a strong Farrell hit which dislodged the ball deep in the Argentinian half. A deliberate knock on from the ensuing breakdown made it a rudimentary decision for the referee.

England never really looked in danger with numerous infringements by the Pumas keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

The match was sealed thanks to some good hands by Ford, Wood and Joseph to find May who sprinted into the corner.

Interesting observations: Slade coming on in the 74th minute to replace Brown. Harrison came on for an injured Vunipola in the 38 minute and Ben Te'o was the only replacement not to get a run out.

England vs Australia 3/12/2016 (37-21)

M Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Lawes, Kruis, Robshaw, Wood, Hughes, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Joseph, May, Yarde, Brown (subs: George, Marler, Sinckler, Ewels, Harrison, Care, Te'o).

England knew the Wallabies would want revenge for the summer white-wash and despite the injuries (no Itoje, Vunipola, Haskell or Nowell from that summer side) a strong side was named – with Hughes making his full debut.

England started very poorly and were trailing 10-6 when that-man Joseph once again benefitted from sloppy play before crossing to give the men in white an undeserving lead.

After the game Jones was scathing about England's first 20 minutes. He said: "I don't think we could have tried to play any worse than we did.”

But he decided against any changes in personnel and England reacted second half.

Ben Youngs threw a wonderful dummy (he's got a habit of that) before scoring and although Kepu crossed for Australia England remained ahead until Joseph intercepted a poor pass and touched down.

England finished the year unbeaten. Ten games played, ten games won – four of those against Australia.

Interesting observations: Jones clearly wanted a big carrier at eight to replace Vunipola with no spot for Clifford who had been on the fringes – Hughes was the preferred choice.

Youngs' MOTM performance meant he had the edge over Care for the 9 shirt.

Eddie Jones' first year in charge:

The only ever-present was Hartley as hooker but Robshaw and Farrell were clearly also first choice with the pair only missing out on starting in the summer Wales test.

Having quickly cracked a back three of Watson, Nowell and Brown injuries meant that Daly, May, Yarde and Rokuduguni had a look-in but Ashton was unable to break into the squad.

Daly's versatility was clearly a bonus for Jones even early on in his test career playing at wing and both centre positions.

Slade struggled to break into the 15, mostly due to injuries, but it's clear from the squad selection Jones knew what a talent he had on his hands.

With a fully-fit squad Kruis and Itoje were probably the first choice pairing in the row but Launchbury and Lawes were more than capable replacements.

The first-choice front row was M Vunipola, Hartley and Cole.

Wood had rescued his international career from the brink but there appeared to be no way back for Ashton or Morgan who made training squads but not the final 23.

Also the huge success of Ford-Farrell at 10/12 meant there were less questions about centre combinations with the only real question mark around who would replace Joseph at when he was injured with Tuilagi still tipped as a gamechanger if his fitness issues cleared up.

There was a Six Nations trophy to defend in the spring…

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