Eddie Jones admits his influence on England will not be truly felt until year three of his reign as coach.
Jones replaced Stuart Lancaster in the wake of last autumn’s World Cup calamity and will be at the helm until Japan 2019, after which he is expected to step down having groomed an English successor.
Victories over Scotland and Italy in the Six Nations have given his stewardship a promising start, but the Australian believes his influence will really be felt around 2018.
“I’m hoping we’ll see the best of this team against Ireland on Saturday, but whether that happens or not, I’m not sure,” Jones said.
“You are always hoping it’s going to happen next week. Sometimes it happens in three weeks, sometimes it takes three years, you don’t know.
“Generally speaking, you look at most teams around the world when a coach takes over, the first year you are coaching the previous coach’s team – that’s the reality.
“The second year, you can change it by 50 per cent, the third year you can change it by 80 per cent. Which means, by the third year, it’s your team.
“Now that’s where you should be at your best. The third and fourth years are the years you get your maximum.”
Jones was present at Twickenham Stoop on Friday night to see Manu Tuilagi make his comeback from the hamstring strain that has kept him out for three weeks, having played only two matches since his return from a long-term groin issue.
The 24-year-old wrecking ball centre completed Leicester’s 25-19 defeat by Harlequins and while his power helped set-up the Tigers’ try, he was also at fault for the score that decided the match.
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill insists Tuilagi is not ready to play against Wales on March 12 – the game in which Jones plans to use him – and a discussion will be held between club and country.
“I’ll speak to Richard and we’ll work it out from there,” Jones said.