Eddie Jones: Ireland clash like a World Cup final

The England head coach can achieve a second consecutive Grand Slam with victory in Dublin

BY Cian Roche 15:53 Monday 13 March 2017, 15:53 13 Mar 2017

Image: Andrew Matthews / PA Wire/PA Images

England head coach Eddie Jones says he is approaching this weekend's Grand Slam decider in Dublin as if it was a World Cup final.

His side's victory over Scotland at Twickenham last Saturday secured the Championship for England, but Jones has a chance to deliver back-to-back Six Nations titles for the first time since 2001.

Ireland's defeat to Wales last Friday night ended their hopes of reclaiming their title from England and now Joe Schmidt's side can only stop the English making history at the Aviva Stadium. A win for England will see them surpass the All-Blacks and set a new record for consecutive wins for a Tier One nation.

By beating Ireland they will set a new record of 19 matches, a prospect Jones says is too good to be missed. 

"We'll be disappointed if we didn't win the Grand Slam because we've got a once in a lifetime opportunity," he told Sky Sports.

"This is great for us. It's a great opportunity and it's great experience for us. We're building towards a World Cup and this is like a World Cup final. It's winner takes all. To have this experience is only positive for us."

Former England international Clive Woodward claimed that only a Grand Slam win would stop this season being a "failure", a notion Jones has rubbished. 

"If we were to get beaten on Saturday, is it a failure? We're still the Six Nations champions."

Preparation, he insists, will be key to victory on the day and that it will be more mental than physical.

"We just have to be really well prepared. The more exact preparation and knowledge of what exactly Ireland are likely to do, the more knowledge we have of what we've got to do.

"We can anticipate things and act with speed to convert that into pressure."

Their victory over Scotland was perhaps one of their best and the fact that it was to equal a record made it all the sweeter for Jones' men. But was it the best they've played under his stewardship?

"I think the scoreboard shows that, but I think if you look at some of our performances against Australia in the summer, we were playing against the number two team in the world. Those performances were pretty comprehensive. 

"The Scotland result was another excellent result."


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