Experience the key to England's winning run, says former captain and coach Martin Johnson

Eddie Jones’ side is looking to stretch their unbeaten streak to 14 matches this Saturday against Australia

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 November, 2016, 3:43pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 November, 2016, 9:26pm

Eddie Jones’ rampant England side are benefiting from the experience in their ranks and have the potential to emulate the team that won the 2003 World Cup, according to former captain and coach Martin Johnson.

Victory over Australia on Saturday in their final autumn international would stretch England’s winning run to 14, equalling the record set by Johnson’s side.

They are the only unbeaten nation in the world this year.

“You’ve got a group now who have been around for a couple of World Cups, and have got a lot of caps,” Johnson, who was head coach from 2008 to 2011, told the BBC.

“Players like Ben Youngs and captain Dylan Hartley have 50 caps-plus, so they are getting into the part of their careers when they are at their peak.”

Scrum half Youngs and hooker Hartley, who was made captain by Jones, were both handed their international debuts by Johnson.

Australian Jones took over with England’s fortunes at a low ebb after being knocked out of their home World Cup in the pool stages last year.

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They have since completed a Six Nations grand slam and a series whitewash in Australia before wins over South Africa, Fiji and Argentina in the past month.

“They have had some disappointments like we all do, and you either fall away or use them to motivate yourself,” Johnson said.

“I hope they are enjoying what they are doing. When you are winning it does create that momentum of good fun and everyone wants to be in the group.

“We still need more players to come through and really hit that world-class level, and when you have a squad of 20-plus guys like that, you have a chance to really do something.”

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With a British & Irish Lions tour of world champions New Zealand next year, Johnson hopes England will provide a sizeable contingent in Warren Gatland’s touring party.

“It’s a Lions year and it would be great to see a whole chunk of Englishmen go on that tour,” he said.