Jones: Inexperience has cost us

Australia coach Eddie Jones concedes the Wallabies' lack of experience has been costly but has defended his decision to thrust so many youngsters into the fray so soon. [more]

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Australia coach Eddie Jones concedes the Wallabies’ lack of experience has been costly but has defended his decision to thrust so many youngsters into the fray so soon.

Jones looks set to stick with captain George Gregan for Saturday’s clash with England, although he is set to make up to five changes from the 26-16 defeat to France with Matt Giteau and Wendell Sailor the highest-profile casualties.

Mat Rogers ran at fly-half during training on Wednesday, with Morgan Turinui and Lote Tuqiri in midfield and Mark Gerrard and Drew Mitchell on the wings.

John Roe packed down on on the blind-side while lock Hugh McMeniman is set for his first Test start in the second row.

"We are in the process of bringing young players through," said Jones.

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"At the 2003 World Cup England’s average number of caps was 42 for the starting 22. Our average number of caps is 19 so it is a young and inexperienced squad.

"We have had a change in personnel so people are slightly less disciplined in defence. That change has meant we have had to prepare differently.

"You tend to have to work on the simplistic parts of your game than the more sophisticated parts of the game.

"We have changed training and it hasn’t resulted in a victory as yet but it will come. I don’t think we are far away."

Jones expects England will employ the same game-plan on Saturday, when victory is just as vital for the red rose as it is for the Wallabies.

"England have gone for a reasonably predictable and a physical, forceful side," said Jones.

"Their team is full of faces we know pretty well, they are all guys we have played against pretty regularly."

England boast a hefty power advantage in the pack – their front row alone weighs in at more than 55 stone – and head coach Andy Robinson called for the scrum to be a genuine contest that does not degenerate into a "free-kick fest".

The Wallabies have a reputation for spoiling tactics and Jones said: "When you are a little bit smaller you have to be quicker and smarter and that is what we hope to be on Saturday.

"We have to be smart in the way we scrummage. We are not going to out-muscle them – we are giving up 35kgs on the front row – so we have to be smart and that means scrummaging legally under the eyes of the referee."

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