Rugby
Back-to-back champions and world record holders - Jones tells England to be proud
RUGBY

Back-to-back champions and world record holders - Jones tells England to be proud

RUGBY
TABODDS
Although England were unable to clinch a second straight Grand Slam against Ireland, Eddie Jones looked to the positives.
RUGBY
TABODDS

Eddie Jones told the England players to be proud of themselves despite missing out on a second successive Six Nations Grand Slam and world record win.

England successfully defended their title by trouncing Scotland last weekend, but their hopes of another 100 per cent campaign were scuppered by a 13-9 defeat to Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

The result also stopped Jones' men surpassing New Zealand with a potentially record-breaking 19th consecutive Test win by a tier-one nation.

But rather focus on the opportunities lost, the England coach is keen to ensure his players reflect positively on the tournament and take stock of their achievements.

"I told the players to be proud of themselves, we are back-to-back Six Nations champions and world record holders, which is a fantastic achievement," said Jones.

However, the Australian admitted his team had played within themselves in Dublin.

He continued: "We were just not good enough. When we get together again in November we have to right what happened here.

"We are all human and that is why records finish on 18 games; you get a team that performs above themselves and uses the conditions superbly and we were below ourselves."

Jones felt the standard of the Six Nations had significantly improved since leading England to a Grand Slam in 2016.

"You have these days and this was a tough tournament for us, harder than last year," he said.

"Teams were at us and I expect it to be more difficult again next year. We have been chuffed with the results we've had, but the reality is we still have a lot to do.

"We will have more setbacks before the [2019] World Cup. How many teams average over 90 per cent win level at Test level? Not many and we have been doing it since the [2015] World Cup. We are disappointed, gutted, but we will fight another day."

Jones would relish the chance to face the All Blacks this year after the RFU revealed that options for a potential match were being explored, though he insisted no agreement was near.

He said: "We can't wait to play New Zealand and I am very keen on a match this year.

"I've had a discussion with [RFU chief executive] Ian Ritchie, and if the opportunity comes we'll be raring to go. It's another opportunity for us to learn.

"There are a lot of discussions still to go. There's a fair bit of work to do."

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