EXCLUSIVE: Eddie Jones on his plans for the Six Nations
BEING the second best team in the world will count for very little when the Six Nations championship kicks off in February, Eddie Jones has warned Wooden Spoon’s England supporters.
The head coach said the team he fields for England’s opener against France in Paris is likely to look very different from the one that dazzled against the All Blacks in the semi-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup before being beaten to the right to raise the Webb Ellis Cup by South Africa.
“You can expect the squad to be regenerated,” the Red Rose boss told the children’s charity of rugby during an exclusive interview. “I think it’s important we look at people and see where we need to go, and part of that will be finding better players than we’ve got at the moment.
“That’s always the job at international level.”
However, any changing of the guard and rebuilding process will not diminish Eddie’s ambitions for silverware. Having steered England to their first Grand Slam in 13 years in 2016 and defended their crown in 2017, the Six Nations is a tournament he holds in high regards.
Dismissing the notion that locking horns with Italy and company may feel like an anti-climax after reaching the World Cup final in Yokohama, the former Australia and Japan coach said: “Not at all, consider what a great tournament the Six Nations is.
“Wales had a good World Cup and France will probably be disappointed in terms of their results but not in terms of their performance, so it’s going to be a tough old Six Nations – but obviously our target is to win it.”
Any thoughts of victory will, however, have to follow clear the air talks within the England camp to ensure that the fallout from Saracens’ salary cap breach does not negatively impact on international fixtures.
Double winners Sarries supplied six starters and two replacements for the Red Rose’ ill-fated match against South Africa, but now face a battle to retain their Premiership status having been docked 35 points and Eddie is keen to address any animosity.
“We don’t know [what the impact of the scandal will be] but it will be definitely be a factor that we need to discuss,” concluded the 59-year-old, who spent an unhappy spell as Sarries’ director of rugby during the 2008-09 season. “We need to put everything on the table and make sure there is no lingering resentment from either side – the Saracens guys and the non-Saracens guys. It will be important that they understand that it is not part of the England team.”
Read more from Eddie Jones in the next edition of Spoonews.