Jones chal­lenge Eng­land to achieve great­ness

New Straits Times - - Sport - AFP

TWICK­EN­HAM: Eng­land coach Ed­die Jones chal­lenged his side to achieve “great­ness” by com­plet­ing back-to-back Grand Slams after they re­tained their Six Na­tions ti­tle with a round to spare fol­low­ing a 61-21 thrash­ing of Scot­land at Twick­en­ham on Satur­day.

Jonathan Joseph scored a hat-trick as Eng­land ran in seven tries, with Owen Far­rell over­com­ing a leg in­jury to kick 26 points as they over­pow­ered Scot­land in post­ing a record score in the 135th edi­tion of rugby union’s old­est in­ter­na­tional fix­ture.

Vic­tory also saw Eng­land equal New Zealand’s record of 18 suc­ces­sive Test wins by a lead­ing na­tion.

Eng­land will break the world cham­pi­ons’ mark if they beat Ire­land in Dublin next week­end, where a win would also see them com­plete a sec­ond straight clean sweep in the Six Na­tions.

No side has done that in the Six Na­tions era, with France achiev­ing con­sec­u­tive Five Na­tions Grand Slams in 1997 and 1998.

Eng­land last man­aged the feat in 1992 and 1993

“We’ve got a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity,” said Jones, yet to lose a match as Eng­land coach since tak­ing charge fol­low­ing the hosts’ first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

“It (would) mean for the play­ers they’ve achieved great­ness,” the Aus­tralian added.

Next Satur­day’s match takes place on St Pa­trick’s week­end, with Ire­land look­ing to bounce back from a 22-9 loss to Wales in Cardiff on Fri­day.

Jones said Ire­land, who ended New Zealand’s win­ning streak, would love noth­ing more than to spoil Eng­land’s party.

“Ire­land, psy­cho­log­i­cally, are in a very strong po­si­tion,” he added.

“They’re beaten, they’re out of the tour­na­ment and they love spoil­ing par­ties.

“And the party they’d love to spoil the most is the Eng­land party,” in­sisted Jones, coach of the Aus­tralia side beaten by Eng­land in the 2003 World Cup fi­nal

Hav­ing es­tab­lished a 30-7 lead at half­time, Eng­land didn’t let up and added 31 more points after the break on Satur­day.

“The num­ber one team in the world goes on and fin­ishes that off,” added Jones, whose ul­ti­mate am­bi­tion with Eng­land is to de­throne the All Blacks by win­ning the 2019 World Cup in Ja­pan.

“We’re not beat­ing our chests and say­ing we’re the num­ber one team in the world, but we as­pire to be the num­ber one team in the world.”

Scot­land kicked off one win away from a Triple Crown and with high hopes of a first vic­tory at Twick­en­ham since 1983.

But they were never in the game, with their wafer-thin de­fence re­peat­edly ripped apart.

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