England have recruited Melbourne Storm rugby league forwards coach Jason Ryles on a short-term basis in preparation for the autumn Tests.
Ryles is working with England’s defence for a two-week period before the match against South Africa at Twickenham on 12 November.
“Melbourne Storm have been in six of the last 11 NRL Grand Finals,” England head coach Eddie Jones told BBC Sport.
“Relentless defence has been their trademark and that’s what we want.”
The England squad is currently at a warm-weather training camp in Portugal, with Ryles assisting defence coach Paul Gustard over the next fortnight.
“Gustard has done an outstanding job in putting that defence together, so we just want that to get better,” Jones added.
“It’s a great learning opportunity for the coaches and the players. Defence is one of the pillars of our game.”
Meanwhile, Jones is hopeful lock Courtney Lawes will be fit to face the Springboks, despite a knee injury that forced him out of Northampton’s match with Gloucester last Friday.
“We’ve got a new nickname for him – The Mummy – he’s got wrapping everywhere,” Jones said.
“But we are cautiously optimistic he is going to be right for South Africa. We expect him to start training at the start of next week.
“He’s got bone bruising so there’s some swelling there, but the medics are confident he’s going to be all right.”
Saracens’ in-form prop Mako Vunipola is also struggling with a hip niggle, but is expected to train towards the end of the week in the Algarve.
Jones also says the camp will be crucial in assessing Dylan Hartley’s fitness before the series. The skipper has only appeared twice for Northampton since early September because of a back problem.
“His attitude and his desire to get right is there, and if that is right then he is right,” Jones added.
The England coach says there are contingency plans in place should Hartley not prove his fitness, with back-up hookers Jamie George and Tommy Taylor both playing well for their clubs.
Following the meeting with South Africa, England face Fiji, Argentina and Australia over successive weekends at Twickenham.
- Read more: England second row Lawes an injury doubt for autumn Tests
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/37828028