Eddie Jones claims England are ‘still nowhere near their best’ after thrilling late victory over France and says they will be racing against ‘best team in the world’ Les Bleus until next World Cup
- A late Maro Itoje try sealed a dramatic late Six Nations victory against France
- The result gives England something to smile about after a tough Six Nations
- Eddie Jones has challenged Les Bleus to a race to the 2023 World Cup
England breathed a sigh of relief after they snuck past France to save face in the Six Nations as Eddie Jones challenged Les Bleus to a race to the 2023 World Cup.
A late Maro Itoje try sealed the deal for England and ended French Grand Slam hopes.
And head coach Jones hailed his leaders, Itoje and Owen Farrell. ‘Maro and Owen stood out in how they lead the team,’ said Jones.
Eddie Jones’ side beat France in a hard-fought match following a late match-winning try
Jones praised the efforts of match-winner Mario Itoje and captain Owen Farrell
‘They played at their best and just got on with it and showed a lot of composure in terms of coping with difficult periods.
‘We always had the plan post the World Cup that we needed to create a game that takes us to the next World Cup.
‘France are being described as the best team in the world – they have quality players are well coached and we said before the game we will be racing them to the World Cup and it will be a good race between the two of us. But we got a good start today.
‘It’s a good step forward and we are still nowhere near out best, that is exciting and the players feel that. We are looking forward to raising the stakes again against Ireland.
‘It’s a sign of a good team (to dig it out at the end). Especially when you’ve had a tough run.
‘There’s always those doubts going through your head as a team and individuals. We really controlled ourselves and played with a lot of focus about what we needed to do. The communication between the leaders and the team was excellent.
‘We’re so disappointed we can’t defend our trophy so we want to make sure we finish the competition with a good feeling about where we’re going.’
Jones has challenged Les Bleus to a race to the 2023 World Cup which will be held in France
Jones was bemused though at the decision to reverse a penalty against Ben Earl, the flanker who seemingly won a turnover only for Andrew Brace the referee to change his decision to put England under late pressure.
‘We had a new law today, the captains’ challenge, we didn’t know about – we must have been off the memo list,’ added Jones.
‘We didn’t know you could do that in rugby. I’ve been involved in rugby for a little bit of time and I’ve never seen that before. I’ve never been informed you could do that.
‘If we knew that Owen would have had his little notebook out and made a note of when he could have challenged the referee. I thought it was just for T20 cricket – it’s a new one isn’t it?
‘The sponsors got a few more minutes of television time, so it was good.’