Eddie Jones has bounced back from the desperate disappointment of losing the Rugby World Cup final to South Africa and claims England are ready to the play the “greatest rugby” the sport has ever seen in the Six Nations championship, while also delivering his verdict on the new coaches heading into their first championship.
Jones named his squad today and 10 of the Cup squad were missing due to injury or loss of form, including Billy Vunipola, of Saracens, who has broken his arm for the fourth time while Jack Nowell, of Exeter, is to have an ankle operation.
Jones has picked eight uncapped players who will be looking to impress the head coach when they head to Portugal for a training camp later this week.
England open their Six Nations against France in Paris on February 2 and Jones said: “We want to become the best team in the world but also we have the opportunity to play rugby which is the greatest rugby the world has ever seen. We want to make sure we become a great team that plays fantastic rugby and over the last four years we have touched on that at times but not with any sustainability and so that is the challenge for the team going forward.
“We have picked the best squad available and at the same time we have selected some young players because we need to keep building the depth and we need to keep looking for players who are better than the ones we have.
“We are off to Portugal and hopefully get a bit of sun, nice warm conditions and will have a debrief after the Rugby World Cup. Given the schedule we didn’t have time to do that at the World Cup and we will get that out on the table and see what we have learnt and what we have reflected on and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes going forward.
“It is all about raising standards and our first task is to beat France in Paris.”
Jones has also given his verdict on the new coaches who will be taking charge of teams in the Six Nations with Andy Farrell head coach of Ireland; Wayne Pivac at Wales, Fabien Galthie with France and Franco Smith taking over with Italy.
“We have been doing a bit of research,” he added.
“Farrell has taken over from Joe Schmidt and they worked closely together for the four years so he will probably bring a greater physicality to their defence and (something) a little different in their attack.
“Pivac has a big job to do because Warren Gatland was there for 12 years and was massively successful. Pivac has his own style of play and it will be interesting to see if he goes straight to that Scarlets style of play or stay with the more traditional Gatland style.
“Franco Smith will bring a South African toughness to the Italian play and they did some great things under Conor O’Shea but he will bring something different and Galthie was with France at the World Cup and likes his teams to be well organised in attack. He likes line speed in defence and we have fair idea of how he will try and change the French team.”
Watch: End of an era for Saracens
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