Australia’s Nic White has insisted he will not fall for Eddie Jones’s mind games after the England head coach singled the scrum-half out for praise before Saturday’s Test at Twickenham.
Jones described the former Exeter scrum-half as “playing exceptionally well” shortly after England’s emphatic win over Tonga last Saturday. Since he took over as England’s head coach, Jones has enjoyed a 100% winning record against his compatriots and is seeking an eighth straight win this weekend.
White’s side lost in a dramatic meeting with Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday. He believes that now Dave Rennie has replaced Jones’s former Randwick teammate Michael Cheika as the Wallabies head coach, the buildup to this week’s match is “less personal”, however, which will allow Australia to avoid some unwanted distractions.
“It’s nice for me to give us some praise but Eddie is the king of mind games so I’m certainly not reading into too much of what he says,” White said. “He’s the type of guy you’d love to sit down with a beer and talk rugby and hopefully one day I’ll get that chance.
“But he’s the king of English rugby, with the media stuff, I love listening to it but our job is to focus on the things we could have controlled on the weekend and focus on us rather than previous times against England, focusing on what they do. I think it’ll be less personal, for sure. Not that as a playing group, or I certainly didn’t feel it but there was a lot in the media between Eddie and Cheik and I think it’ll be a little bit different this week. It’s a chance for us to focus on what we want to do and how we want to play.”
White, who came off the bench when the two sides last met in England’s 40-16 World Cup quarter-final win in 2019, added: “I don’t think any of the edge has gone, not at all. Not after recent times … England are a team we’re always desperate to beat, they’ll always be big brother. Whatever sport, cricket, you name it, if it’s England v Australia the gloves are off.”