EDDIE JONES believes the unity in his England squad has been vital in a resurgence which culminated in their dominant 37-18 win over Australia.
With World Cup year looming, England will feel a whole lot better about their prospects in Japan than they did in the wake of a dismal Six Nations campaign and summer-series loss in South Africa.
Jonny May, Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga and Owen Farrell ran in tries, with captain Farrell also kicking 17 points at Twickenham to sink a feeble Wallabies team who ended 2018 with nine losses in 13 games, to leave coach Michael Cheika under intense scrutiny.
Saturday’s England triumph came after autumn wins — albeit not always convincing — against South Africa and Japan and a narrow 16-15 loss to New Zealand, having led the world champions 15-0.
Head coach Jones (pictured) said: ‘We’d had a tough Six Nations. We’d got some things wrong in planning, some things wrong in terms of where we were going as a team and we needed to regroup and we did that.
‘We didn’t get the result we wanted in [the tour of] South Africa but in terms of the togetherness of the team, how we want to go forward, this series was a step forward and the 2019 Six Nations will be another step forward again.’ Since replacing Stuart Lancaster at the end of 2015, Jones has enjoyed complete mastery against Australia, who he coached for four years until his sacking in 2005, but the 58-year-old Aussie denied taking satisfaction from the run.
‘It’s not about playing against Australia. It’s about us. I love coaching England and love English players. It’s about us getting better as a team,’ he said.
‘It wouldn’t matter if we were playing Argentina or Afghanistan, all we want to do is play good rugby. I’ve got no interest in just beating Australia.’
They said it
‘A million, million thanks to you. It’s been a brilliant life. I’ve loved every minute’ — Commentator Ian Robertson signs off on 5 Live, retiring after 47 years on the air