England's Jones taps into Storm and AFL

·2-min read

Having just clinched a three-Test series win over the Wallabies, Eddie Jones's thirst for improvement is unabated with England's rugby coach looking to tap into AFL clubs and the Melbourne Storm next week.

Australian Jones and his coaching crew, including ex-Brisbane and South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold, who heads England's defence, will travel to Melbourne to spend time with Craig Bellamy at his NRL powerhouse club.

With AFL great Neil Craig on board as England's high performance manager, they will also link with the Melbourne AFL club where he was a caretaker coach.

Craig, who also has ties to Carlton and Essendon and has been in Jones's inner circle since 2017, was also coach at the Adelaide Crows for eight years.

Rugby guru Jones felt he could learn from the relationship AFL coaches had with their players to maximise growth in England players leading into next year's Rugby World Cup in France.

"I think the AFL is particularly good at communicating with their players," Jones said after England's 21-17 victory at the SCG, which sealed a 2-1 series win.

"They have them for 24 weeks, so keeping the message fresh, understanding the relationships."

Jones has a history with Bellamy, who along with Storm football manager Frank Ponissi, has spent time in the NRL off-season at England rugby headquarters.

"Melbourne Storm are the toughest team I've seen, so we can always learn from them," Jones said.

"So it's great for us that we can spend the week down there and really try to improve our coaching because we want to get better as coaches.

"We're asking players to always get better so we need to be role models so we'll have a good week down there."

Jones's job was under pressure heading into the Australian series after a poor Six Nations with one commentator saying the coach shouldn't bother coming back to England if they lost.

But Jones felt vindicated in his game plan and player selection.

He felt this series victory was harder than their 2016 series whitewash because of the number of youngsters in the squad.

"We're nurturing this team at the moment, we've got a good group of senior players and we've got all these young guys coming through," Jones said.

"I'm really pleased with the development of this team, it's been outstanding.

"We lost the first Test because we didn't have enough time on the training paddock but as the tour went on there was more cohesion.

"The result is always important but the development of the team, especially now when we're in the last 12 months of this World Cup cycle it was crucial we got it right."

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