Sports

Smack Talk fuels England’s away series win


Visiting captain Courtney Lawes said England’s victory in the Test series against the Wallabies was fueled by the home side “talking loudly” in the build-up to the final.

A 21-17 win in the Third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground secured a 2-1 series win for the English.

After the Wallabies ended their losing streak against England in Perth, the visitors secured back-to-back wins in Brisbane and Sydney to seal the Ella-Mobbs Cup.

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Although this year’s series did not have the same level of tit-for-tat between the coaches as between England’s Eddie Jones and former Wallabies manager Michael Cheika, there was still enough for Lawes to get up and walk around.

“We dug in there, fair play to Australia. The number of losses they had alone…they did a great job,” Lawes said.

“They really put us to the test tonight. Fair play, congratulations to them, but we stuck together, hung on and managed to get the win.

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“We fought for each other. We had an amazing four weeks here. We really enjoyed ourselves.

“I mean, they give us a good bit of fuel in the press, to be fair. They were talking about us in smacks. It kinda motivated us, but the boys stuck together, stuck to our guns.

“Unfortunately we didn’t fire that many shots tonight but we found a way to win, that’s the big improvement.”

Ellis Genge echoed Lawes’ sentiment, thriving on the fight talk.

“Generally, the English are better as underdogs,” Genge said.

“It was hard for us to get up, but they came out in the press and said a little slap and it got us up for the last one. Unreal.”

It’s the second consecutive series England have won on tour of Australia after a 3-0 draw in 2016.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper was humble in defeat, conceding his side didn’t do enough to edge ahead of England.

“To come back from 1-0, close the series, you have to take your hat off to them,” Hooper said.

“I don’t think we were clinical. We created good chances tonight, but not good enough to execute and finish them.

“Obviously we saw in our review an opportunity to move the ball and affect them.

“There were areas that hurt us, big moments, just before half-time they obviously tried a bit of a rambling ball where Marcus [Smith] goes half the field.

“Some nice elements, but it really hurts.”

The Wallabies faced an uphill battle throughout the series, going into every game with at least one high-profile omission due to injury.

Hooper praised his team’s efforts despite the difficult situation.

“I’m always proud of our group,” he said.

“We worked hard, we played good football, we didn’t execute what we wanted, but there’s so much courage in this group, there’s been a lot of adversity.

“I mean, no excuses, we gave ourselves a chance to win tonight. Too bad we couldn’t do it here.

“It was a wonderful night to play rugby in front of a full house. We really enjoyed the involvement of the crowd in the game, sorry we couldn’t give them a win.”

The Wallabies focus on Championship Rugby where they will face New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina each twice in August and September.

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