Scotland will have to justify 'big talk' says Jones

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:01

REACTION: England coach Eddie Jones tried to get an early blow in against Scotland by questioning whether they could back up "their big talk" in next month's Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham.

Jones's men remained on course for a second successive Grand Slam with a 36-15 win over Italy at Twickenham on Sunday, after eventually overcoming the Azzurri's spoiling tactics of refusing to commit to rucks.

Victory over Scotland in the Calcutta Cup clash on March 11 would see Six Nations leaders England equal world champions New Zealand's all-time record of 18 successive wins by a leading Rugby Union nation.

Scotland, however, are on a roll after beating Wales 29-13 at Murrayfield on Saturday and they have now won two out of their three Six Nations matches this season.

"We believe we can beat England if we play like we did in the second half," said Scotland captain John Barclay after his side scored 20 unanswered points against Wales at Murrayfield.

But the fact remains that Scotland have not beaten England at Twickenham since 1983.

"We're looking forward to Scotland coming down," said Jones ahead of the Triple Crown decider.

"They're talking big already, they're on a roll, they're confident, but they've got to carry round the expectations now for the whole Scotland nation for the next two weeks before they come down and play us," the Australian added.

For all the frustration he felt with Italy's approach on Sunday, Jones - yet to lose a match as England coach after he was appointed following the team's first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup - had no complaints about his side's position.

"If you said where we wanted to be at the end of three rounds [of the Six Nations], we're exactly there."

England, 5-10 down at half-time against Italy, scored five of their six tries in the match after the break and Jones said: "Six tries, three wins, a bonus point. Mate, we're flying."

Meanwhile, Italy coach Conor O'Shea was proud of the way his side, thrashed 10-63 by his native Ireland in their previous match, had fronted up.

Jones had said he wanted England to "take Italy to the cleaners," a point not lost on O'Shea.  

"He wanted 70 [points] so he wanted to 'take us to the cleaners'," O'Shea said.

"Is that respect? I actually loved it when they kicked for goal as that was a bit of respect and I'm gutted that we finished the game off the way we did."

O'Shea said assistant coach Brendan Venter, the former South Africa international and the man who laid the foundations for the current success of English and European champions Saracens, for the tactical plan which so annoyed England. 

Sergio Parisse, Italy's captain, insisted the Azzurri had done nothing wrong in standing off rucks and trying to block the line of a pass from England scrumhalf Danny Care to flyhalf George Ford. 

"We just followed the rules. Obviously it's still a defeat for us so we can’t be happy for that, but I'm really proud of the boys and the team because we are not the same level as England, and we come to Twickenham, and we go into the changing rooms [at half-time] leading in the score," said Parisse.

The veteran No.8 added: "Today was a good plan. So it's good for Conor and Brendan and all the staff. 

"For us, as the players, it's important that we stick to the plan, and give it 100 percent. 

"We'll maybe have another plan, more crazy things!"

Meanwhile an unrepentant O'Shea said: "This is an unbelievable rugby nation which is in trouble.

"We will dig our way out of this hole by thinking differently.

"There's so much to do, but we'll do it and I think today [Sunday] you could almost say we've had enough and we're going to fight."

Agence France-Presse

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Team P W D L Pts
England 5 4 0 1 19
Ireland 5 3 0 2 14
France 5 3 0 2 14
Scotland 5 3 0 2 14
Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0