RUGBY: England coach Eddie Jones has gone from throwing barbs to handing out compliments - claiming the Wallabies are the most-improved team in the world.
Jones, who was sacked as Australia's coach in 2005, has been keen to stir the pot ahead of the showdown at Twickenham on Sunday morning, took time out from questioning the Aussies' scrummaging to give praise to Michael Cheika's side.
England, which has been unbeaten since Jones took over the coaching role last year, won 3-0 in the June internationals Down Under.
But Jones said the Wallabies were a much better side now than when they lost all three games at home.
"Having said all I've said, Australia are probably the most improved side in world rugby,” Jones said. "What they've done throughout the Rugby Championship and then on tour here is quite brilliant.
"Their attack's become a lot more varied, their alignment is better in attack, defensively they're making better decisions and key players have come back.
"Will Genia is a player who I know very well. He's an outstanding player and at his best he was the world's best half-back.
"He's probably not quite there at the moment, but he's playing some really good rugby and adds a solid and influencing role to their team.
"I've been really impressed with what they've done.”
Despite the compliments, Jones believed his team would play smarter than the Wallabies and would be not taking anything for granted, despite that series success in Australia.
"We don't get a head start because we won 3-0 in Australia,” he said.
"I saw an interesting press conference with the Man City manager Pep Guardiola who was talking about playing Burnley.
"Last time Man City played Burnley they beat them 4-0. He made the point - and it's so true - that when you get beaten by a big score the attention you put on the next game against that opposition is more intense.
"You're physically and mentally more motivated. Australia's will to win is going to be enormously high. Our challenge is to make sure our will to win is higher than theirs.
"Tactically, we'll beat them but we've got to have a greater will to win than them. We've got to raise our efforts from this week.
"This is a one-off game against Australia - the 3-0 series win has nothing to do with it.”
The Wallabies could be without flanker Dean Mumm, who has been cited following his lifting tackle in Sunday's 27-24 defeat to Ireland in Dublin.
Mumm was sinbinned by French referee for the tackle on Ireland's Tadhg Furlong but was set to face a World Rugby disciplinary committee hearing chaired by Mike Hamlin (England) today to decide whether there will be further sanctions.
If he is banned, it will be the second suspension for the NSW Waratahs forward in five weeks after he missed the European tour opener with Wales for elbowing All Black lock Brode Retallick in the Bledisloe Cup clash in Auckland.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.