Eddie Jones has described Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup meeting with Georgia as an ‘unusual’ game for England against an Eastern European opposition they had only ever met twice previously. The recently crowned Six Nations champions got their new campaign up and running with a six-try, 40-0 win in the Twickenham rain, a margin of victory that was less than what had been widely predicted.

ADVERTISEMENT

However, there was an edge to proceedings on the back on an infamous scrummaging training session between the two countries at Oxford in spring 2019, an altercation which fed into England’s attitude towards the Georgians in London.

“We always want to win the forward battle, we especially want to win it against Georgia,” said Jones, speaking post-game on Saturday. “All the guys remember the session against Georgia in Oxford.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer
Eddie Jones’ thought before England took on Georgia on Saturday

“That was one of those things that when you sit down and talk about scrummaging, Georgia comes to mind – and even the backs got involved in that session. They were backs running from about 40 metres away to have a better look at it.

“We wanted to make a point today that we weren’t going to be stood over and we did that. Really pleased with the efforts, particularly of the starting front row, (Ellis) Genge, Jamie (George) and Will (Stuart) and then Mako (Vunipola), (Tom) Dunn and Kyle (Sinckler) came on and did a great job at the end of the game. We were pretty comprehensive in that area.

“It was quite an unusual game,” he continued. “We had 18 scrums and I think twelve mauling contests so that is 30 contests where you have basically go eight against eight which is unusual in Test match rugby. There was probably 250 per cent more than you normally get and in that sort of game it worked really well. The game against Ireland is not going to be like that so we need to rethink how we select the team.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We played Georgia today which produced a challenge in the set-piece and I thought our set-piece was absolutely outstanding. We probably would have like to have been a bit sharper in terms of our execution with the ball we won, but the conditions were difficult and it’s something we can keep working on and improving.”

The fixture with England was massive for Georgia, the regular B Six Nations champions who usually only get to take on tier one opposition every four years at the World Cup. It has often been said that they should be included in the Six Nations at the expense of struggling Italy and while Jones wasn’t joining that particular debate, his assessment of the progress the Eastern European are making was positive.

“Having watched them play over the last five, six years they are slowly developing their game. They have got a number of good young players coming through being involved in their successful U20s side. You’re starting to see the side starting to keep its trademarks of a strong scrum and strong driving maul, but they are producing backs that have got a bit of feel for the game. There is a really positive future for the Georgian team.”

Jones, who reported that Jonathan Joseph has a lower back spasm, also commended the display of debut-making try-scorer Jack Willis, adding that newcomers in recent weeks have helped England develop. “It was a good sound performance,” he said of Willis.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We have got a number of good young players coming through at the moment. That’s six new caps we have had in the first two games since we started playing again. There’s a good group of new players coming through that are pushing everyone ahead of them. All the players know they have got to keep working, got to keep progressing if they want to stay in the squad.”

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now