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Dylan Hartley and England all fired up to make history against Australia

The England captain knows that the side’s improvement under Eddie Jones will be tested to the limit against the Wallabies but he believes they can win and climb the world rankings, starting with Saturday’s first Test

Every sporting contest between Australia and England has a singular edge but, outside Rugby World Cups or a Lions tour, the anticipation for Saturday’s first Test is unprecedented. Watching the Poms get clobbered never loses its local lustre; if the Wallabies outplay an English team commanded by their compatriot Eddie Jones, there will be widespread mirth from Canberra to Cape Tribulation.

Short of Jones agreeing to be photographed outside Suncorp Stadium dressed as Douglas Jardine and clutching a pint of warm IPA, he could not have done much more to sell the fixture. The Bodyline references have been relentless, the mind games with his old mate Michael Cheika a constant backdrop. Is it really going to be 1932?33 all over again, with Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje taking it in turns to play Harold Larwood? Should England win the series, eight months after being ejected from their own World Cup by Cheika’s squad, they can certainly claim to have arisen from the modern?day ashes.

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