Rugby: England 'just starting' after matching All Blacks' 18-match win record

England head coach Eddie Jones with his players during a training session.
England head coach Eddie Jones with his players during a training session.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • England coach Eddie Jones insisted his side were only "just starting" and could improve further after they thrashed Scotland 61-21 at Twickenham on Saturday to retain their Six Nations title.

Jonathan Joseph scored a hat-trick as England ran in seven tries against the sorry Scots, with victory seeing Jones' men equal New Zealand's record of 18 successive Test wins by a "tier one" or leading rugby union nation.

"I've got to give credit to the players," Jones told ITV. "They've worked hard and learnt new ways and when you're a professional player it's always hard to learn new things and they've been very open-minded."

The Australian, yet to lose since taking over after the team's lacklustre first-round exit on home soil at the 2015 World Cup, added: "The exciting thing for us is that we're only just starting. We're one year into a four-year project and we're going to get better and better."

Jones' ultimate goal with England is to win the 2019 World Cup in Japan. England will surpass world champions New Zealand's record if they beat Ireland in Dublin this weekend. A win would also see them complete back-to-back Grand Slams. France were the last team to achieve the feat in 1998, before Italy joined the competition.

"Next week is about the Grand Slam and we are going to focus very closely on that," Jones, Australia's coach when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England, said.

England had not led at half-time in any of their previous matches this season but they were sharp from the start against Scotland, with Joseph opening the scoring in the third minute.

England's final tally was the largest number of points either side had scored in the 146-year history of rugby union's oldest international fixture, topping the 43 they had twice managed previously.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2017, with the headline 'England 'just starting' after matching NZ's mark'. Print Edition | Subscribe