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Australia ‘let down fans’ in whitewash by England

Mike Brown

England won in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney during their summer tour of Australia

Australia are desperate to avenge an “embarrassing” summer series whitewash by England when they meet on Saturday, backs coach Stephen Larkham says.

Eddie Jones’ side won all three Test matches against the Wallabies in June.

“To lose 3-0 in Australia was very difficult, particularly as a former player and being pretty passionate about Australian rugby,” Larkham told BBC Radio 5 live.

“I think we let a lot of people down through that series.”

The former Wallabies fly-half added: “It was very embarrassing to lose the series 3-0 on our home soil, [so] we’re certainly looking forward to this one.”

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After June’s series defeat, Australia finished second to New Zealand in the Rugby Championship and come to Twickenham having won three games from four on their end-of-year tour.

The two head coaches have exchanged critical words in the media as they prepare for the match; England’s Jones has spoken of the “disrespectful” treatment his team experienced down under in the summer, while counterpart Michael Cheika feels his fellow Australian is damaging his legacy back home.

Both have also accused each other’s scrum of using illegal tactics, but Larkham says it is inevitable that the two former team-mates are on the offensive.

“They’re very similar actually – they can be quite intense – Eddie probably more so,” said Larkham, who was coached by Jones at both the Brumbies and Australia.

“But I think they’re both very passionate about rugby. They’ve both got a very good technical knowledge of the game and they’re both extremely competitive.”

Larkham was a key part of the Australia side that reached the World Cup final under Jones’ leadership in 2003.

“We kept in contact via email mostly,” he added. “They’re pretty short and to the point, which is good though. I’ve sat down with him a couple of times and spoken to him about coaching.”

Larkham has worked as part of the Wallabies set-up since the start of 2015, and will join the coaching team permanently next year.

He describes working with Cheika as “entertaining, enjoyable and a great experience in terms of career development”.

As the team’s attacking coach, Larkham set up the supreme offensive display that brought a 32-8 win over Wales in Cardiff on 5 November, but says he is prepared to be patient before thinking about the top job.

“Not at this stage,” he said. “But inevitably that’s where any Australian coach would like to end up.”

Hear more from Stephen Larkham on the Matt Dawson Rugby Show on BBC Radio 5 live on Thursday at 21:00 GMT. Matt’s other guests include Eddie Jones and England captain Dylan Hartley.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/38144505