Jones lauds 'wonderful' start to Six Nations fixtures

ROME • England coach Eddie Jones forecast that fans were in for a treat following the "wonderful rugby" played on the opening weekend of this season's Six Nations.

His men launched their bid for an unprecedented third successive outright title by rounding off the first round of fixtures with a comprehensive 46-15 win over Italy in Rome on Sunday.

A crowd of more than 61,000 at the Olympic Stadium saw England run in seven tries, with an emboldened Italy scoring two of their own before fading away.

The fixture capped a weekend where Wales hammered Scotland 34-7 in Cardiff, while Ireland needed a last-ditch drop goal from Johnny Sexton to see off France 15-13 in Paris.

"I thought if you look at the three games in the championship so far, what wonderful rugby," said Jones after overseeing his 23rd victory in 24 Tests in charge of England.

"You had Wales and Scotland throwing the ball from side to side, you had Ireland and France in an old-fashioned arm wrestle.

"You saw today that there was a bit of an arm wrestle and then it opened up at the end.

"We feel honoured to be part of the tournament and the tournament is only going to get better."

The speedy Anthony Watson gave England an early 10-0 lead with two unconverted tries and Jones, perhaps mindful he was in Italy, said: "He got the Maserati out of the car park today."

Reflecting on their overall performance, Jones added: "Our scrum and line-out were absolutely first-class. I don't think we've scrummed as well as that in the time I've been in charge of England.

"We were completely dominant and that's English rugby."

The one downside for England was the sight of Ben Youngs being taken off on a medical cart just 10 minutes into the game after crying out in pain when his knee buckled during a tackle. He is a major doubt for England's clash with Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2018, with the headline 'Jones lauds 'wonderful' start to Six Nations fixtures'. Print Edition | Subscribe