In winning the 2016 Six Nations England have shown all the potential needed to become world beaters.
The championship reaches its conclusion this weekend with the final round of matches. The title is already in the bag for England and their sights are now set on securing the Grand Slam, when they take on France in Paris on Saturday.
The arrival of head coach Eddie Jones following last year’s World Cup, replacing the outgoing Stuart Lancaster, has seen a new attitude and vigour permeate through the squad. Players have been allowed to play to their talents and strengths with less restriction and the results have been instantaneous.
If you were to describe England’s victory in this year’s championship you might say it has been frightening.
The step change in performance across all positions has been significant and there now appears to be a threat coming from every area of the field.
Lancaster, to his credit, blooded several players that quickly became integral parts of the England squad that is steamrolling towards the Grand Slam. Mike Brown, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson have burst onto the scene in the last couple of seasons and have not looked back.
Now, with the arrival of Jones as head coach, the ex-Wallabies boss blooded more talent this Six Nations in the form of second row sensation Maro Itoje, who’s already being compared to Ireland’s Paul O’Connell and touted as a future England captain. His standout performances both in attack and defence have made people sit up and take notice across the rugby world.
More incredible than the performances of Itoje and the England squad as whole this championship is the fact that the average age of the squad is a mere 24. 22 of the 33 squad members were born in the 1990s and even more amazing is that only two, Mike Brown and James Haskell, are in their thirties; barely. Both are 30 and hitting their prime.
Jones has built upon a solid foundation laid down by Lancaster and has removed the shackles imposed by the previous management team. In doing so, he has unearthed a young, cohesive squad that is brimming with talent, power and speed.
As England look past their title win and towards Paris on Saturday and a possible first Grand Slam since 2003 (the World Cup-winning squad), you cannot help but feel that we are witnessing the early days of a rugby legacy that will be looked back upon as one of England’s greatest ever, perhaps even one to rival the great side that won the World Cup under Sir Clive Woodward.
As a neutral, these are exciting times. Even as a biased fan one cannot help but be impressed and excited about the potential on show.
England’s clash with France, and a possible Grand Slam, is on Saturday at 8pm.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
Heineken Rugby Club celebrates and rewards real supporters who make the game what it is.
Read More About: 2016 six nations champions, 2016 six nations news, Anthony Watson, eddie jones, eddie jones news, england rugby news, France Rugby News, Grand Slam, Jonathan Joseph, maro itoje news, mike brown, Six Nations 2016, Six Nations news