England 37 Australia 21: Eddie Jones insists England must bristle with ambition when they seek to build on a perfect first year under his guidance by successfully defending their RBS 6 Nations title.
Australia were crushed 37-21 at Twickenham on Saturday to complete a clean sweep of autumn victories and equal the record of 14 successive Test triumphs set by Sir Clive Woodward’s World Cup winners in 2002-03.
An unblemished 12 months comprising of 13 wins sees England end 2016 placed second in the global rankings, but Jones has already turned his mind to plotting the downfall of his European rivals.
“The Six Nations, in my limited experience of it, is a different competition to the autumn,” Jones said.
“Being an outsider to the Six Nations, I thought there was an absolute fear of losing rather than wanting to win. What we want to do in the Six Nations is go out there and win it.
“Also, you get the guys coming back having played three or four weeks of European rugby and they’re in a fatigued state.
“You’ve got to find a way to regenerate them and get them used to playing international rugby.
“The only thing I’m interested in now is winning the Six Nations and to win the Six Nations we need more consistency in our set piece.
“I want to have the most dominant scrum. The scrum in the Six Nations is enormously important so we want that dominance.”
Despite missing the injured Billy Vunipola, James Haskell and Maro Itoje, England produced a conclusive end to the autumn by overcoming a poor start to run in four tries, extending their mastery of the Wallabies to a fourth successive victory.
Jones spent yesterday debriefing his players, who return to their clubs with clear instructions on areas for improvement knowing that any drop in standards will result in demotion from the Six Nations squad.
“If you don’t keep performing, you won’t be in the team,” said Jones, who will finalise his selection for the Championship at the end of the month.
“No one owns an English jersey, you borrow the jersey for 80 minutes. You’re lucky to get it again, you have to work hard to get it and if you don’t have the right attitude, then you won’t get it.
“If players aren’t hungry and you see it in their performance straight away, then they won’t be here. We have enough depth to change the squad if we need to.
“There’s a tipping point in the team when you get six, seven, eight players with that absolute desire to want to do well then if you’re not in that group, you tend to fall out.
“That’s how great teams keep on getting better. We haven’t got that tipping point yet but we’re moving towards it.
“The team is a dynamic organism and it has its own life so you just have to keep doing the right things, keep doing the right processes and do the bits and pieces and it’ll come together.”
One player who is in no danger of missing out is Owen Farrell, England’s goalkicking points machine who has pieced together a solid if unspectacular autumn while shaking off the lingering after effects of the back injury that delayed his start to the season.
Farrell excelled throughout the whitewash of Australia in June and Jones views the 25-year-old as the “standard bearer” for the team.
“Owen is the spirit of the team. He’s an absolute competitor and always wants to do things well,” Jones said.
“He hasn’t been at his best this autumn – it’s quite clear he’s still recovering from his back injury. I’d say he’s probably been at 80 per cent of his total fitness.”
To win those four Tests when your inside centre is nowhere near his best is a pretty good effort. He’s enormous for us. He’s the standard bearer.”
Scorers for England:
Tries: Joseph 2, Yarde, Youngs. Cons: Farrell 3, Ford. Pens: Farrell 3.
Scorers for Australia:
Tries: Naivalu, Kepu. Cons: Foley. Pens: Foley 3.
Brown, Yarde, Joseph, Farrell, May, Ford, Youngs, M. Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Lawes, Kruis, Robshaw, Wood, Hughes.
Te’o for Farrell (67), Care for Youngs (63), Marler for M. Vunipola (59), George for Hartley (59), Sinckler for Cole (67), Ewels for Kruis (73), Harrison for Robshaw (69).
Folau, Haylett-Petty, Kuridrani, Hodge, Naivalu, Foley, Phipps, Sio, Moore, Kepu, Douglas, Simmons, Pocock, Hooper, Timani.
Cooper for Hodge (69), Speight for Naivalu (69), Frisby for Phipps (69), Robertson for Sio (58), Latu for Moore (73), Slipper for Kepu (73), Mumm for Douglas (61), McMahon for Timani (67).
Jaco Peyper (South
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