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'There wasn't a lot of Aussie Rules out there' - Eddie Jones surprised by Irish tactics

The England boss also singled out Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton for praise as he turns his attention to Wales.

England coach Eddie Jones.
England coach Eddie Jones.
Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth

ENGLAND HEAD COACH Eddie Jones admitted Ireland’s tactics caught him by surprise but that didn’t stop the home side from eventually racing away to a 21-10 victory at Twickenham yesterday.

Second-half tries from Anthony Watson and Mike Brown sealed the win for England after a nip-and-tuck Test match for the guts of an hour.

Jones felt it was a massive step up from previous outings in Scotland and Italy but was pleased that his defence stood up to the challenge, with the performance of Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton, in particular, catching his eye.

“Ireland are a superbly-coached team,” Jones said after the game.

“They did a few different things, they probably moved the ball wider than we thought they would and they did that quite well.

“Our defence was pretty good. The thing about Ireland is that they put a lot of questions to you and they probably kicked less today, so there wasn’t too much Aussie Rules out there.

“Ireland put a fair few questions to us, I thought Sexton played exceedingly well for them, kept putting questions to our defence and in the main we responded pretty well.”

Finishing

England dominated territory and possession in the first half of yesterday’s game and he lamented his side’s failure to convert that superiority into an advantage on the scoreboard.

However, he always felt that if England maintained their intensity and game-plan, that the points would follow. And he was proven right by their surge in the last 25 minutes.

“We probably left 10 to 15 points out there in the first half,” Jones said.

“I thought the structure of our attack was excellent, our finishing wasn’t.

“If you get the structure right, the finishing will come. I think where we’ve come from at the start of the championship to now, it was a step up.”

Grand Slam

With three wins from three and a home clash against Wales and a trip to Paris to round out their campaign, whispers of a Grand Slam opportunity are starting to pick up volume.

But the Australian boss, in typical post-match fashion, was refusing to look beyond the next hurdle.

“I’m still trying to work out what a Grand Slam means,” Jones added.

“All we want to do is beat Wales next week, probably not next week actually. All we want to do is beat Wales in two weeks’ time.”

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The former Japan boss had plenty to be positive about after an impressive win against the two-time reigning champions. And he had his statistics ready when asked what it meant for England moving forward.

“If you look at the average age of England, we go into that Test match today with 512 caps, Ireland have got 612 caps.

“Ireland have got an average age of 28, we’ve got an average age of 24. Which side has got more growth? They’re not bad stats.

“We’ve got five guys who have played five caps or less. They’re all in the infancy of their career.”

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Alan Waldron

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