Fly-half George Ford says he and his England teammates have already learnt a lot from a tricky 2018 NatWest 6 Nations campaign.
Eddie Jones’ men went into the Championship looking to defend their 2017 title but ended up finishing fifth in the table with two wins accrued across their five matches.
The three defeats come as a rare negative in what’s been an extremely successful period under Jones’ tenure and there were still plenty of highlights during the campaign, including the 46-15 win over Italy and supreme defence displayed in the 12-6 victory over Wales.
Leicester Tigers playmaker Ford featured in all five matches in the campaign, and is looking at turning any negatives into positives in future.
“It will be a great thing for England if we use it in the right way,” Ford commented to the Daily Mail.
“We would have been naive if we thought we wouldn’t come across a bump like this in the road. It’s just part of the journey.
“Eddie (Jones) always says it and we always buy into it that our end goal is winning the World Cup. Campaigns like this NatWest 6 Nations will be a massive part of the journey.
“We learned a lot about ourselves as individuals and as a team. We’ve just got to make sure that we use that in the right way now.”
Ford, 25, has formed a formidable relationship with scrum-half Ben Youngs in England colours over the last two years and the pair have also been playing together at Tigers in the Aviva Premiership this season.
Youngs was unfortunate to sustain an injury in the first-round NatWest 6 Nations victory over Italy back in February but is now back in action for Leicester, and commented on his telepathic partnership with Ford.
“When we get it right we don’t really need to say much to each other, we just sort of know,” Youngs explained.
“It’s pretty instinctive. We don’t over-think… it just sort of happens. That’s when we know we are getting the best out of each other.
“We don’t have to call stuff. We just know what the other is going to do, subconsciously really.”