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Jones: Grand slam, not Six Nations, our real goal

Eddie Jones and England can spoil Ireland's Six Nations (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)
Roar Guru
13th March, 2017
8

England refused to celebrate their successful Six Nations title defence on Saturday after Eddie Jones declared the Grand Slam as the real prize.

For a second consecutive year the crown was secured with a round to spare after Scotland were demolished 61-21 at Twickenham, completing a record-equalling 18th straight victory in the process.

Only Ireland can prevent England from becoming the sixth team in the history of the Championship to defend a Grand Slam when the rivals collide in Dublin.

Upon dispatching Scotland, the squad gathered with their families at their training base but the champagne was put on ice as Jones reflected on the jitters evident at the same stage last year.

“We didn’t celebrate. We haven’t got anything to celebrate yet. It is all ahead of us,” Jones said.

“Last year we were nervous and I expect us to be nervous this year. It is a big occasion.

“You don’t get a chance to win a Grand Slam back-to-back too many times but experience helps.

“Every year winning is difficult. There’s a perception that this Six Nations has been better and it probably has been, but you’ve still got to win and to win it you’ve got to stay undefeated.

“You have to be around your best for five games in a row. That’s an achievement.”

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Ireland’s own title aspirations evaporated with their 22-9 defeat in Cardiff on Friday night, but Jones is wary of opponents who he recalls were widely tipped to seize England’s crown.

“Ireland are an extremely well coached side and they’ll be grossly disappointed by their performance on Friday,” Jones said.

“I’ve just been reading all the predictions at the start of the tournament and a number of people tipped them to win the competition.

“They were favourites but they haven’t won the Six Nations and they’ll be carrying the expectation of their country to do well.”