Eddie Jones said England were so dominant in keeping their Six Nations title hopes alive against Ireland that “we could have declared” at half-time but insisted his side will improve by 10% against Wales in an effort to take the championship to the final weekend.
Jones had warned England were back to their World Cup intensity before the match and his side duly delivered, racing to a 17-0 lead at half-time with tries from George Ford and Elliot Daly to back up the victory over Scotland last time out. Jones had come in for criticism for his team selection with a number of players picked out of position but, with Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes outstanding, England were dominant. Jones struck a sarcastic tone when asked if the victory was vindication for his team selection before looking to Wales’s visit to Twickenham on Saturday week, when victory could take them top of the Six Nations table.
“At half-time it was a cricket game, we could have declared,” Jones said. ”We were really good against Scotland in difficult conditions and we took another step up and will take another step up when we play Wales. We’re just fitter, we’re able to play with more intensity and we will be better against Wales. We will have another 10% against Wales.
“We are going to go for six locks next week against Wales, give you something to write about. Look I don’t need vindication. I pick the team that I think is right for the week and you guys [the media] are so clever, you’re all clever so I’ve just got to suck it all up, enjoy what you say, try to learn from you, and maybe I can pick a better team next week. There’s a lot more to come. Every time England play Wales it’s the biggest game there’s ever been, so I don’t expect next Saturday week to be any different.”
Owen Farrell kicked nine points to help inflict a first defeat on his father, Andy, as Ireland’s head coach. His was an impressive performance but he became embroiled in an ugly spat with CJ Stander, when refusing to let go of the No 8’s leg. Farrell junior opted against facing the media this week but bristled at suggestions his week’s preparation had been any different. “Not any different from any other game I’ve ever played in,” he said. “It seems like it’s obviously something for other people to talk about but it’s actually no different for us whatsoever.”