Rugby: England's 'once in a lifetime opportunity' to whitewash Wallabies

England head coach Eddie Jones. Photo / Getty
England head coach Eddie Jones. Photo / Getty

Coach Eddie Jones has urged his players not to be seduced by praise as they close in on a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to vanquish Australia 3-0 in their series finale in Sydney on Saturday.

The Six Nations champions are on the brink of an unprecedented clean sweep in the three-match series against the Wallabies having already won the previous two Tests in Brisbane and Melbourne to retain the Cook Cup.

Jones, the former Wallabies coach, has resisted making more than one enforced change to his team by bringing in Northampton's Teimana Harrison for injured number seven James Haskell.

South Africa's Springboks were the last team to beat the Wallabies 3-0 in an Australian series in 1971, and Jones says his team are primed to whitewash the Wallabies, who knocked England out of their own World Cup on the way to reaching last year's tournament final.

"It's a fantastic opportunity. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to beat Australia 3-0," Jones told reporters Friday.

"If you look at sides that come to Australia and win, the only side that does that regularly is New Zealand. The other sides who come in generally get beaten.

"It's a tough place to win, so in winning the series and then if we win 3-0 that's a significant achievement for the team."

But he has cautioned his players to block out gushing praise after mastering the Wallabies so effectively in their two Test encounters.

"When you've had a couple of wins praise can make you weak and we have to be careful that all the praise doesn't make us weak," he warned.

"If you become weak once, you can become weak twice and to be a champion team you can't be like that.

"Outside praise is dangerous for a team and they've been getting a lot of it, so we just have to be careful."

Jones said he resisted making more than one team change after clinching the series 23-7 in Melbourne last week.

"I've always been of the opinion you should always earn your cap and if players are fit and mentally right to play and they are the best players you pick them," he said.

"Just because we won the series 2-0 doesn't mean the fringe players deserve a cap, they have to work hard to beat the person in front of them."

Jones, who is unbeaten in eight internationals since he took over at the helm of England, said newcomer Harrison will offer something different to the forward he replaced Haskell.

"Teimana is a bit of a street-fighter. He doesn't mind throwing it around a bit and we're going to need that on Saturday. He's nice and competitive in that seven spot (openside flanker)," he said.

"Harrison is a bit more of a ball-carrier than Haskell. So he will give us a bit more in that area."

Captain and hooker Dylan Hartley said his team were looking forward to finishing a long season with a historic win over the Wallabies.

"We've had the quarters and the semis and I think this is the biggest challenge on Saturday," Hartley said.

"I think mentally we know how we can play, there's always stuff to improve on and play a complete game, but mentally it's about getting up for this game and treating it like a final and finishing our season with a win."

- AAP

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