Eddie Jones has vowed to put on a show for the fans as he prepares to lead England into the “best tournament in the world” next month.
Head coach Jones and England captain Owen Farrell were in attendance at Tobacco Dock in east London for the official 2020 Guinness Six Nations launch on Wednesday.
England 2020 Guinness Six Nations fixtures (all times GMT)
- Round 1: France v England, Stade de France – 15:00, Sunday 2 February
- Round 2: Scotland v England, BT Murrayfield – 16:45, Saturday 8 February
- Round 3: England v Ireland, Twickenham Stadium – 15:00, Sunday 22 February
- Round 4: England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium – 16:45, Saturday 7 March
- Round 5: Italy v England, Stadio Olimpico – 16:45, Saturday 14 March
England head into this year’s Championship off the back of an impressive World Cup last autumn – that saw them reach the final before losing to South Africa.
And Jones is now excited for another crack at Rugby’s Greatest Championship, with a belief that the playing styles of all six teams will be fan-friendly this year.
“The Guinness Six Nations Championship is the best tournament in the world,” said Jones. “I think that’s true.
“After a World Cup, you want to make sure you give the fans good rugby. I’m sure there’s six teams aiming to play good rugby again.
“Once people see good rugby, they tend to forget about any other things.”
England are the one country with continuity at both coach and captain from last year’s Championship, with Scotland boss Gregor Townsend and Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones the only other men returning to their roles.
All that new blood has brought a sense of fresh excitement about the 2020 Guinness Six Nations and Jones believes the first two rounds in particular could set a tone for the remainder of the Championship.
“Post-World Cup, the tournaments always have a different feel because teams come out of the World Cup in different states,” explained Jones.
“There are different statuses in terms of the cycle of each side, so you’re not sure about the stability of each team.
“The first couple of weeks will be interesting – finding out where each country goes with their players and coaches.
“We’ve still got the bulk of our squad from the World Cup but we do have a new coaching staff, so there’s a bit to do. We want to get on front foot early.”
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) January 22, 2020
England’s first challenge this year is a trip to Paris to face a France side where Fabien Galthié has replaced Jacques Brunel as coach and Charles Ollivon is in for Guilhem Guirado as skipper.
They have also appointed a familiar face to the backroom staff – with ex-Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards now fulfilling the same role with Les Bleus.
And after many battles with Edwards defences over the years, Jones is well aware what to expect at the Stade de France on Sunday 2 February.
“Shaun Edwards continues to evolve,” said Jones. “You don’t stay in the game as long as Shaun has or have the success he’s had without evolving.
“He’ll be looking at different ways to slow the ball down, different ways to put pressure on our decision-makers.
“Will we see anything new? Probably not because he’s only had a couple of sessions with them but you’ll see the attitude – the aggressiveness and ‘test everything’-type approach.”