Rugby-Beaten England have taken massive steps forward, says coach Jones

England coach Eddie Jones has lifted “taking the positives” to a new level in the wake of Saturday’s 32-15 defeat by Ireland, insisting his team had shown major progress in the Six Nations, despite two defeats and some underwhelming performances.

England showed fantastic grit and defensive determination to go into the final 10 minutes level at 15-15 after having Charlie Ewels sent off in the second minute, but Ireland then ran in their third and fourth tries of the game to secure their biggest margin of victory at Twickenham. That came after defeat to Scotland in the opening round, a routine win over Italy and a nervy victory over Wales, who outscored England three tries to one.

Asked if this represented progress from last year’s shocking fifth-placed finish, Jones told journalists: “Oh I think we’ve taken massive steps forward. We dominated the game against Scotland – we got beaten. We’ve dominated this game with 14 men , at times, and got beaten. And then we’ve had two good wins against Wales and Italy and we’ll have a good win against France. “Obviously, our aim was to win the championship and we’re disappointed we haven’t, but sometimes circumstances mean the results don’t mimic the performances. The results will catch up.” Jones is famed for his left-field pronouncements to the press but his latest will no doubt raise a smile from Ireland coach Andy Farrell and French coach Fabien Galthie – whose teams remain in the hunt for the title next Saturday as England wallow among the also rans again.

Jones was right to praise the spirit his players showed in adversity on Saturday – they were described as heroic by Farrell – though he has also said previously that “spirit and total commitment” should be a given for any international player. Asked how he could try to replicate that backs to the wall intensity for all games, the Australian said: “I’m not sure. If we had the secret potion for that, we’d use it all the time. But we are developing nicely as a team and we’re only going to get better.”

Jones pointed out that England have beaten France in their last two meetings, though they have also lost their last two in Paris – where the sides will meet in the competition’s final game on Saturday night. “We just want to play well, we want to take it to them,” he said of the game where France will be seeking their first title for 12 years.

“I remember going there in 2016 going for the grand slam and because it’s such a huge thing in European rugby, it does become something in their head, and the only way we can make that live in their head a bit more is to play with such an intensity and such ferociousness that we put them on the back foot. But like any team – even the great All Black teams winning at 90 percent – on your day if you can get stuck into them physically, take away their strengths, you can cause them problems.”

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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