Eddie Jones has described England’s thrilling win against France as a “good start” in the race to the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
A late try from Maro Itoje sealed the win for England in a breathtaking encounter against France at Twickenham Stadium that saw the lead change hands on multiple occasions.
The England head coach was speaking to RTE after the match and indicated that he believes Les Bleus will be his side’s main rival in the lead up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
“We really controlled ourselves and played with a lot of focus about what we needed to do…”
Here’s what the boss had to say about #ENGvFRA ⤵
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) March 13, 2021
“They’re being described as the best team in the world. They are a good team, they are a quality team with quality players and they are well-coached,” Jones said.
“And we said to our players before the game we’re going to be racing them to the World Cup.
“They are a good team, they’re developing, we’re developing, and it’s going to be a good race between the two of us. And we got a bit of a start on it today.”
‘I think Maro and Owen stood out.’
A number of England’s most valued players suffered a poor start to the 2021 Six Nations, with captain Owen Farrell, Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje all coming under criticism for their performances in the first three rounds.
All three of those players were much improved against France however, leading Jones to praise their leadership abilities after a tough few weeks for England.
“We’ve always had the plan post the 2019 World Cup that we needed to create a game that would take us to the next World Cup,” Jones explained.
“But we always felt we needed to develop our game, so we started that at the start of the Six Nations and we’re slowly, slowly getting better at getting the right balance in our game between passing, running and kicking.
“Today was probably another step forward. We showed a really good attitude, great leadership by Owen [Farrell] and full credit to the players and coaches.
“I think Maro [Itoje] and Owen particularly stood out in terms of the way they led the team, they played at their best, and then contributed to show a lot of composure in terms of coping with difficult periods.”