Australia's hopes of wrestling the initiative from England in their three-Test series suffered a sizeable blow after forward David Pocock was ruled out of the remaining matches with a fractured eye socket.
No8 Pocock suffered the injury during England’s 39-28 victory in the first Test in Brisbane on Saturday and is expected to be sidelined for up to six weeks.
The 28-year-old is viewed as one of the finest back-row forwards in international rugby having secured more turnovers than any other player at last year’s World Cup, although Wallabies Michael Cheika was determined to assume a brave face. He said: “We have options with experience, so we’re fortunate but it’s disappointing to lose a player of David’s quality.”
England will seal their first ever series win over the Wallabies on Australian soil with victory in Melbourne on Saturday, and flanker James Haskell insists head coach Eddie Jones is proving to be the master puppeteer.
“Eddie treats the boys very fairly and understands that in professional sport you have to talk to people in different ways,” said Haskell, who has made 68 international appearances.
“He knows how to get the best out of people and knows that some people need the carrot and others the stick. I’m more of a carrot man.”