Possibly my wife would agree with the title of this blog…as my current spare time is spent with constant planning, blogging and raising funds to make the 2019 Rugby World Cup trip. However a recent interview with England head coach Eddie Jones shows the Aussie is now gearing up the England team for 2019 and Japan.
Jones is halfway into his four-year project, having led England to 19 victories in 20 Test matches, but knows that in order to lift the Webb Ellis Cup in two years’ time, his side has to continually improve.
Jones commented “It’s hard to be number one in the world; if it was easy every team would do it, it takes pain and extraordinary preparation. The tendency in England is to be comfortable, but when you strive to be number one it is not comfortable.
“I think it’s important that everyone knows what we’re aiming for; if we don’t get there there is no shame, because we are going to do everything we can to get there.”
Jones and the England welcome Argentina to Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 11 November for their first Old Mutual Wealth series Test of the autumn, which should be another opportunity for Jones to check out some new players as the current squad is decimated with injuries and suspensions.
England will then play Australia on 18th and Samoa (25th) November as they look to build on their successful summer, and replicate what to expect come the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup. Both of the tests could provide a serious challenge to England’s ambitions, especially as the Aussies took the last test against the All Blacks in the recent Bledisloe Cup.
“Over the next 18 months we will play against France, Argentina, Tonga and the USA,” explained Jones.
“The opponent on the field might not be those sides, but we will practice our game plan against teams with similar playing styles to those in our Rugby World Cup pool.
“Getting ready for a World Cup is all about rehearsing, so against France we will have a particular game plan. Tonga – probably the most physical team in the world – we have to be ready for that physical onslaught, and then the USA, who are probably one of the most athletic teams in the world.”
And whilst he believes three of the current roster are ‘knocking on the door’ of being considered world class players, Jones is very matter-of-fact about some of the younger generation coming through the ranks.
“I think there are a lot of good players here but they can lack competitive desire, and our job is to make them absolutely competitive every minute of the day.” When you look at the likes of Itoje, you can see Jones ambitions is rubbing off this potential England capt of the future.
He added: “This team has got so much potential but the main thing I have to do is make them believe they have the potential to be the number one team in the world, and win a world cup.”
Personally, I think Jones is right…but then again you might think I’m bias. With 2 more years under the belts of Farrell, Itoje, Marler, Watson, Sinckler and May will make all of the difference and England will probably go into the cup being joint favourites with New Zealand.
Bring it on!