England eye rugby crown

LONDON • England's rugby players say the extra intensity of their new training regimen is increasing their chances of a first Six Nations title since 2011.

Eddie Jones has been actively trying to work his squad harder and as they prepare for their next match against Ireland, the Saracens lock George Kruis believes there has been a significant step up compared with the Stuart Lancaster era.

A feature of England's opening two wins against Scotland and Italy was their final-quarter superiority and Kruis, among England's best forwards to date, feels more attention to detail is paying dividends.

"It is different," he said. "The intensity is a bit higher. The way it's structured, there are no breaks in the session, everything is well planned.

"You aren't waiting for someone to go and pick up the bags, you're moving on to the next drill. It's just not off the cuff. Eddie's trying to put pressure on us to be prepared, so we are ready for any scenario."

England will play Ireland at Twickenham next Saturday with the Six Nations champions struggling and beset by injury concerns.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 21, 2016, with the headline 'England eye rugby crown'. Print Edition | Subscribe