Courtney Lawes was one of three England players in Dubai.
Coach Eddie Jones’ trademark Australian banter and penchant for nicknames has been a key catalyst behind England’s incredible renaissance experienced under him, according to flanker Tom Wood.
All but one of the Red Rose’s record-equalling run of 18 consecutive Test victories was notched up since the 57-year-old took charge in November 2015 of a nation shattered by their awful Rugby World Cup on home soil.
The ex-Japan and Australia supremo has been hailed for his unique approach to the role, allying supreme attention to detail with extrovert moments such as bringing his dog, Annie, go to training and playing an active role in last-minute contact drills on the pitch during last June’s series whitewash of his native country.
Speaking at Lapita Hotel in Dubai as he joined international colleagues Courtney Lawes – who he also plays with at Northampton Saints – and Kyle Sinckler in overseeing a training session for gleeful Dubai Hurricanes youngsters, 50-cap forward Woods – or ‘Rambo’ as he’s known by his current boss – praised the winning atmosphere fostered within the camp.
“Eddie is one of the boys around the team,” said the 30-year-old. “He is always laughing and joking. He has got banter, he’s got nicknames for everybody.
“He has an arm around the lads and out there on the pitch, he is a pretty good taskmaster then. He picks up on errors straight away. He looks at the very basic fundamentals, and polices them really hard.
“I’ve had a few nicknames. The main one I’ve had is ‘Rambo’. He calls us Saints lads, ‘The Factory’. He thinks there is nothing in Northampton other than a shoe factory.”
More than 50 Canes’ kids were put through their paces by the trio, who were in Dubai following the 13-9 loss to Ireland on March 18 which denied them a second-successive Grand Slam in the Six Nations and history. Expected British & Irish Lion Lawes was happy to help.
“Development of rugby in countries like this is very important, and also in England,” the 28-year-old lock said. “It is really good to train with the kids and I like to get more involved.”
When Lawes is away this summer – if selected – with the Lions, Jones will take his available squad to Argentina. This is an opportunity Harlequins’ tighthead Sinckler, 24, does not want to miss out on through complacency, after just breaking in.
He said: “What I’ve learned as I’ve got older is not to look too far ahead. I’m not guaranteed a place on the Argentina tour and the moment you think that, you start losing focus on your game.”
The ‘Daycation Brunch’ at Lapita Hotel provides the ultimate day out for the family. Prices start from Dh195 with soft beverages. Dh295 for house beverages and Dh95 for children under 12. Contact 04 810 9999 for more information.