Jones challenges England to ‘dominate opposition’ ahead of title defence

Eddie Jones 2000
Eddie Jones has challenged his England side to ‘find a way to dominate opposition’ during this year’s Guinness Six Nations as they attempt to defend their crown.

Eddie Jones has challenged his England side to ‘find a way to dominate opposition’ during this year’s Guinness Six Nations as they attempt to defend their crown.

Victory in last year’s Championship was England’s third since Jones took charge in 2016 and the Red Rose continued an excellent 2020 by lifting the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup.

The Australian is now urging his squad to evolve their style as they look to hit new heights during this year’s competition, which England begin by welcoming Scotland to Twickenham to battle for the Calcutta Cup on February 6.

“The one thing we were disappointed about in the autumn was that we never played as well as we could,” said Jones, speaking at the official 2021 Guinness Six Nations virtual launch.

“We want to find a way to be a side who can dominate opposition through every bit of the game.

“Some games it might be through the set-piece, some games it might be through the breakdown, some games it might be ruck and run, some games it might be ruck and kick.

“(It’s about) finding the right spot for that game, playing it well and dominating the opposition.”

Jones is nearing the end of his self-isolation period and will join up with the England camp on Thursday as their preparations step up a notch.

Three influential forwards – Sam Underhill, Joe Launchbury and Joe Marler – have withdrawn from the original 28-man squad, with Jack Willis, Charlie Ewels and Tom West called in as reinforcements.

Uncapped trio Harry Randall, Paolo Odogwu and Beno Obano are also part of a squad containing plenty of potential, leaving England’s experienced coach looking forward to seeing what his young players are capable of.

“As weird as it may seem as a coach, it (players withdrawing) excites me,” he said.

“We are going to have to work a bit harder to find solutions and make sure the guys coming in work hard to get those connections right.

“We have had some wonderful players drop out but that creates opportunities for younger guys to come in.

“Some of the guys who have been in lesser leadership roles are going to have to step up to the mark. It’s a great chance for us and we are looking forward to it.

“It’s a great tournament and we’ve got the opportunity to do something special for the country.

“We’re going to make sure we do everything we can to be the best prepared side and put smiles on people’s faces. We’re not defending the title, we’re going to win the title.”

England will again be captained by Owen Farrell during this year’s Championship and the versatile 29-year-old is raring to go, having not played competitively since kicking the decisive extra-time penalty in the Autumn Nations Cup final against France in early December.

“We’re unbelievably excited to get together and unbelievably grateful to be able to play, especially in a tournament as competitive as the Guinness Six Nations,” he said.

“Hopefully you see a reflection of that in the way we play. We’ve been working away trying to prepare ourselves as best we can.

“It’s been nice to have a little pre-season before coming in and I can’t wait to play some rugby.”