Rusty Wallabies still favourites - Gregan


Former Australia captain George Gregan says the Wallabies will need to overcome rust to defeat an England side full of belief under Eddie Jones. 

The opening match of the three-Test series takes place on Saturday at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

While the hosts will be favourites, having reached the final of the Rugby World Cup last year, Australia must be wary of an England side in excellent form.

Jones has reinvigorated England since his appointment as successor to Stuart Lancaster, who paid the price for a pool-stage exit at the World Cup on home soil.

England won the Six Nations Grand Slam in March and comfortably saw off Wales 27-13 in a warm-up for this series last weekend.

And Gregan told Omnisport: "I think Eddie's record shows that, he can coach his teams in a way to create a belief within that playing group that they can beat anyone in the world if they play the way they are capable of doing. 

"You saw that with Japan when they beat South Africa [in the World Cup] and I was there that day, there would have been no doubt in the playing group, you saw that in the decision of Michael Leitch to take the penalty ... I think that's the attitude he brings in, that's a very Australia kind of attitude.

"That's what Eddie Jones brings to his teams, and in terms of being able to beat the Wallabies team, the Wallabies haven't played since the World Cup final."

Gregan, who played under Jones for Australia, believes the hosts could suffer from their lack of recent playing time. 

"Their first game is up against a team that has been undefeated throughout the Six Nations, there will always be rust in that first Test match for a team and that's what the Wallabies will be facing," he said.

"The challenge will be to overcome that and [head coach] Michael Cheika is pretty shrewd, and his coaching group is pretty shrewd at making sure they play in a way which will help them perform well.

"I would back Australia, but I think it will be a lot like the 2012 series when Wales came down, and they were confident and ready to win.

"England have already said that, every single team has to come here with the attitude to win, if not the series [then to see if] they can take a game, but if you win, why not keep winning, and that's what makes it a really exciting series."