Eddie Jones warns England of Ireland backlash with Six Nations history on the line in Dublin
Australian coach puts Red Rose on alert as they look to become first side to record back-to-back grand slams in revised competition
England may have already retained the Six Nations Championship title but coach Eddie Jones has warned that a wounded Ireland will be desperate to scupper their grand slam plans.
A 22-9 loss to Wales in Cardiff last week effectively ended Ireland’s own title hopes, and England coach Jones has put his side on alert as they bid to make history.
“Ireland are an extremely well coached side and they’ll be grossly disappointed by their performance on Friday,” said England coach Jones.
Last Saturday saw England, for the second season in a row, wrap up the title with a round to spare as they thrashed oldest rivals Scotland 61-21 in a hugely lopsided Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham.
Victory also saw England equal New Zealand’s record of 18 successive test wins by a ‘tier one’ or leading rugby union nation and they will break the world champions’ mark if they see off Ireland in Dublin this coming Saturday.
The Irish, under Kiwi coach Joe Schmidt, ended that All Blacks winning streak with their first-ever victory over New Zealand in Chicago in November.
“I’ve just been reading all the predictions at the start of the tournament and a number of people tipped them to win the competition,” added Jones.
“They were favourites but they haven’t won the Six Nations and they’ll be carrying the expectation of their country to do well.”
England’s points tally against Scotland was the highest by either side in the 146-year history of the sport’s oldest international fixture.
“We didn’t celebrate,” Jones said at England’s training base. “We haven’t got anything to celebrate yet. It is all ahead of us.”
Success at Lansdowne Road would see England become just the sixth team in Championship history, and first in the Six Nations era, to complete back-to-back grand slams.
“Last year we were nervous and I expect us to be nervous this year,” said Australian Jones, who is still yet to lose a match as England coach. “It is a big occasion. You don’t get a chance to win a grand slam back to back too many times but experience helps.
“The players have experienced that the year before so I’m sure they will cope with that.
“There’s a perception that this Six Nations has been better and it probably has been, but you’ve still got to win and to win it you’ve got to stay undefeated. You have to be around your best for five games in a row. That’s an achievement.”