March 17, 2018

England 'moving in the right direction' despite defeats - Jones

13 March 2018, 04:17 | Rufus Hill

Conor Murray making a first half break after collecting an offload from Jonny Sexton

Conor Murray making a first half break after collecting an offload from Jonny Sexton

"In 2015, these players were no good; in 2016, they were terrific; in 2017, they were world-beaters; now, after two games, they are no good", Jones said.

Jones has also said England is struggling at the breakdown because there is a difference in attitudes to the tackle area in global rugby and in England's domestic's Premiership, in which fewer numbers are committed to the ruck.

After a frustrating start to the Six Nations, France claimed a rare victory over England that boosted the morale of Jacques Brunel's men who now believe they are a force to be reckoned with again.

"That's how you build a team - with a defence, because you can see that every player fights for the other". We've got our problems that we've got to sort out at global level. The only game which was within a score was France and that, of course, was won by that late drop-goal from Johnny Sexton, the significance of which I will outline a little bit later. They like to have the ball and their game plan revolves around moving the opposition around the pitch, varying the point of attack to inevitably tire the opposition out which will increase the likelihood of scoring points, either through opposition indiscipline or poor defending. We've got to break old habits first, then introduce new habits.

"It's not as if we can't play rugby, we know we've got good players as they've played for the Lions and won games for England", said Jones. "Whether it's 20 points or one point we lost the game, that's what we're upset about. It's lot more of a power game".

"I want to mention a couple of aspects, I thought our forward pack was outstanding".

"For a team who had lost one game in 25 to suddenly be 27 games and on the back of back-to-back losses, that is going to make them incredibly keen to make sure that they deny us what we denied them previous year". I thought Simon Berghan did well: we now have depth at tighthead.

Sean Maitland, too, was keen to praise the work of his fellow-winger. "The young fella could have had a hat-trick". "He's a big strong fella and he played really well".

An important part of the winning streak has been how effectively the younger players have adapted to global level and slotted into positions as players have fallen away injured. He seems like he's in his own world, keeping his head down. He's a guy that asks you to pay attention to everything you do and make sure you're fully prepared for the game. "He's worked bloody hard, he's obviously had his opportunity - and he's definitely taken it".

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