After Grand Slam, Jones promises more on Aussie tour

Job well done, England rugby coach Eddie Jones tells tighthead prop Dan Cole after they beat France 31-21 in the Six Nations.
Job well done, England rugby coach Eddie Jones tells tighthead prop Dan Cole after they beat France 31-21 in the Six Nations.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PARIS • England rugby coach Eddie Jones said there was plenty more to come from his team, after leading the visitors on Saturday to their first Grand Slam title in 13 years.

A 31-21 win over France gave the Australian a perfect debut campaign in the Six Nations but he made it clear he wanted more.

"The good thing about it is that there's still a long way to go," said Jones, who took over from Stuart Lancaster in the wake of England's early exit from last year's World Cup on home turf.

"Winning a Grand Slam means you're the dominant team in Europe," England's first foreign coach told reporters.

"It's a nice first step for us but that's a small step and there are much larger steps to come, starting with the Australian tour."

THE ULTIMATE GOAL

Can we beat the All Blacks? Of course we can. We can't now but we will in the future. Why else play rugby if you don't think you can beat the All Blacks?

EDDIE JONES, England rugby coach.

Playing Australia in June will be a special occasion for Jones, who also wants England to shine against the top sides from the southern hemisphere, especially New Zealand.

"Can we beat the All Blacks? Of course we can," he said. "We can't now but we will in the future. Why else play rugby if you don't think you can beat the All Blacks?"

Jones took a gamble by picking a bunch of young, relatively untested players such as lock Maro Itoje and it paid off handsomely, the gifted 21-year-old being the revelation of this year's Six Nations.

"The exciting thing for us is we have an average age of 24 and the winning trophy-age for Test rugby is about 28, so we're three or four years away from peaking," he said.

The coach had kind words for Dylan Hartley, the player he recalled and made his captain, after the hooker left the Stade de France pitch on a stretcher in the closing stages following a clash of heads with home prop Uini Atonio.

"I'm sure he will be all right to play shortly," Jones said. "He's been a very good captain, he's led from the front and his individual leadership has been outstanding."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2016, with the headline 'After Grand Slam, Jones promises more on Aussie tour'. Print Edition | Subscribe