Jones wants England to seize 'greatness'

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 12:23

REACTION: England coach Eddie Jones challenged his side to achieve 'greatness' by completing back-to-back Grand Slams after they retained their Six Nations title with a round to spare following a 61-21 thrashing of Scotland at Twickenham at the weekend.

Jonathan Joseph scored a hat-trick as England ran in seven tries, with Owen Farrell overcoming a leg injury to kick 26 points as they overpowered Scotland in posting a record score in the 135th edition of rugby union's oldest international fixture.

Victory also saw England equal New Zealand's record of 18 successive Test wins by a leading nation.

England will break the world champions' mark if they beat Ireland in Dublin next weekend, where a win would also see them complete a second straight clean sweep in the Six Nations.

No side has done that in the Six Nations era, with France achieving consecutive Five Nations Grand Slams in 1997 and 1998.

England last managed the feat in 1992 and 1993

"We've got a fantastic opportunity," said Jones, yet to lose a match as England coach since taking charge following the hosts' first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

"It [would] mean for the players they've achieved greatness," the Australian added.

"How many times in your life do you get to be great? It's exciting. They're in the dressing room now talking about it. They want to do it."

Next Saturday's match takes place on St Patrick's weekend, with Ireland looking to bounce back from a 22-9 loss to Wales in Cardiff on Friday.

Jones said Ireland, who ended New Zealand's winning streak, would love nothing more than to spoil England's party.

"Ireland, psychologically, are in a very strong position," he added.

"They're beaten, they're out of the tournament and they love spoiling parties.

"And the party they'd love to spoil the most is the England party," insisted Jones, coach of the Australia side beaten by England in the 2003 World Cup final

"We're vulnerable, because we've won, we're champions of the Six Nations.

"We're going to have to work really hard to get ourselves right for the game. And we will."

Having established a 30-7 lead at half-time, England didn't let up and added 31 more points after the break on Saturday.

"The number one team in the world goes on and finishes that off," added Jones, whose ultimate ambition with England is to dethrone the All Blacks by winning the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

"We're not beating our chests and saying we're the number one team in the world, but we aspire to be the number one team in the world."

Scotland kicked off one win away from a Triple Crown and with high hopes of a first victory at Twickenham since 1983.

But they were never in the game, with their wafer-thin defence repeatedly ripped apart.

However, a win over Italy at Murrayfield next weekend could still see them finish second for the first time since the tournament became the Six Nations.

That would be a fitting way for Scotland to see off coach Vern Cotter.

The New Zealander is leaving to join French club Montpellier after Scotland felt they had to get Glasgow boss Gregor Townsend - 10 of whose players were in the starting XV at Twickenham - on board as coach of the national side or risk losing him to an overseas offer.

"It just got away from us quite quickly," said the understated Cotter.

Scotland captain John Barclay was rather more blunt, saying: "We just didn't show up today...That was useless."

A bruising encounter saw England's Elliot Daly and Scotland's Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour and Ryan Wilson all exit early with head injuries - a worrying sign given rugby union's growing number of concussions.

"It is a contact sport," said Cotter. "That's why the players play it - they enjoy the contact.

"Some days you have them [head injuries] and some days you have more of them," he added.

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
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