England coach Eddie Jones was in high spirits after seeing his side complete a grand slam in the Rugby Six Nations, but the Australian is already looking to the long term and taking on New Zealand.
England had gone into their final game in Paris against France late on Saturday night with the Six Nations championship already wrapped up.
But they completed their first grand slam of winning all five matches since 2003 as they defeated the French 31-21 with three tries scored through Danny Care, Dan Cole and Anthony Watson.
Jones, who took over as England coach from Stuart Lancaster in the autumn after their exit at the group stages at the Rugby World Cup on home soil, was thrilled with his side’s achievement.
“Winning the grand slam means you beat every team in the competition and means you’re the most dominant team,” the Australian said.
Jones, 56, says there is more to come from the side, highlighting the relatively youthful make-up of the squad as a cause for optimism. “
The exciting thing for us is that we have an average age of 24,” he added. “Winning trophy age is about 28, so we’re three or four years from peaking. That’s enormously exciting.”
More to come
With a tour of Australia in the summer to come, Jones said there would be no relaxing from him, his players, or his coaching staff.
“I think everyone is ecstatic to be the most dominant team in Europe,” he said.
“It’s a nice first step for us, but it’s only a small step because we’ve got much larger steps to go. That starts with the Australian tour in June.”
Taking on the All Blacks
The long-term target for Jones is the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, and competing for top honours with New Zealand, who have won the past two tournaments.
“Can we beat the All Blacks? Of course we can,” he said. “We can’t now, but we will in the future. Why else would you play Test rugby if you don’t think you can beat the All Blacks?”
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