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England overwhelm Six Nations champions Ireland

England centre Henry Slade scores a try against Ireland on Saturday

England Rugby manager Eddie Jones put another notch on his impressive record Saturday, guiding England to a 29th win out of 36 international Tests since he took the reins. To make the victory especially sweet, it was a conquest over Joe Schmidt’s formidable Ireland side at home at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. A testament to the power of Jones’ game-planning, England looked immensely strong as they took on the Six Nations champions, taking apart the host’s strategy and backing them into a corner.

Leading 17-13 by the 66th minute, England created a fantastic opportunity coming out of the scrum, Henry Slade first fed Jonny May the ball and then chased down May’s fantastic chip, a slick maneuver allowing Slade’s exceptional pace to seal the deal in a beautiful try. The work of both May and Jack Nowell on the wings was pivotal for England’s success in a terrific day’s rugby, with May’s opening try inside the first two minutes setting the tone.

Culminating in a 32-30 victory, Saturday represents potentially England’s most dominant win under Jones in contest with another top team, the four-try bonus point illustrating just how effectively they dismantled Andy Farrell’s defense, and the Irish squad taking a heavy beating at the hands of England’s driven intensity. Ireland lost Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, CJ Stander and Devin Toner to injury. “I don’t think I’ve seen a game where our opponents got so many physical, dominant tackles, where our opponents have carried physically in the manner that they did,” the Ireland manager Joe Schmidt confessed after the game. However, England suffered the loss of star player Maro Itoje, a presence who will be sorely missed going into subsequent games.

Manu Tuilagi’s long absence due to injury was forgotten as he bulldozed his way into the match, a powerhouse playing with the destructive flair that he’s known for, and the Vunipola brothers showed their incredible athleticism and sporting quality. Overall, England looked stronger against Ireland than they have during the whole of Schmidt’s tenure as manager, and England fans will be hopeful that this impressive victory is a good omen for the rest of the tournament going into their match against France at Twickenham this Sunday.

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An Exciting Start for England Rugby in 2018

England v Italy, Twickenham 2013

Eddie Jones renews contract until 2021

Great news for all England fans, with the announcement that hugely successful coach Eddie Jones will continue until 2021. He will be working closely with the RFU in selecting the next chief of staff by the end of the 2019-20 season, hoping to maintain the new-found status quo.

Jones has won 22 of his 23 Tests since taking the role in November 2015, and says extending his deal was “not a difficult decision”.

The big question on everyone’s lips, and surely a guarded secret, is whether Eddie Jones will be at the helm for what would surely be the jewel in the crown. If Eddie Jones led the British and Irish Lions to victory in South Africa it would mark the first time since the 1950s that the Lions toured all three nations without conceding a series.

Italy vs. England Squad Announcement

Eddie Jones has selected eight uncapped players to face Italy on the 4th February at the Stadio Olympico.

Five fresh young forwards in the squad will have their mettle tested, as the Italians are well known for their aggression up front in the mauls and breakdowns.

When Italy came to Twickenham, they employed cunning tactics to try and disrupt the momentum of England. Fans are left wondering what they will have up their sleeve come Sunday.

England have never been beaten by the Azzurri, so hopes are high that a young-looking England team can maintain the current 95% win-rate, spurred on by the knowledge that Eddie Jones tenure is set to continue.

 

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England Set For Awesome Autumn

Autumn International

England’s Autumn International programme will see them host Argentina, Australia and Samoa in three vital games as they build towards the next World Cup.

Despite their unbeaten run ending in Dublin, English rugby remains in rude health. A hugely successful last 18 months and a seriously impressive, against-the-odds series win in Argentina this summer means fans will be expecting nothing less than three home wins this November.

The hardest part for Eddie Jones will be picking his squad, as the returning Lions and injured players unavailable for the successful trip to Argentina numbered around 30.

With Jones set on unearthing a couple of young gems before the squad heads to Japan, expect plenty of young talent on show and plenty of old heads fighting to keep their jersies.

It should mean fans are in for some scintillating rugby, so, with that prospect in mind we cast our eye over the Autumn’s opposition.

Argentina

Despite already losing over half his squad to the Lions, Eddie Jones ignored several seasoned international players and headed to Argentina last month with what was little more than a development squad.

Two wins from two against a full-strength Argentina seemed to confirm that Los Puma’s star is very much on the wane.

It was widely expected that Argentina effectively now playing in Super Rugby as Los Jaguares would result in a very well-gelled team who would achieve further success on the international scene, but that hasn’t happened.

Perhaps the lack of challenging new ideas and noticeable step up in quality of teammates that joining a national squad usually brings has resulted in a comfort zone for the players.  What’s clear is that something needs to change.

The loss to a 14-man England at Twickenham last year and last month’s humiliation at home will mean Argentina will be wounded and unfancied in equal measures, a combination that used to serve them very well.

Expect a full-blooded test match, with both teams desperate for a win again a side they’ll share the same group with in Japan.

Australia

The Aussies’ recent home loss to Scotland, combined with their defeats in Dublin and London last Autumn, suggests they are undergoing a transition, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.

Australia have a habit of unearthing talent that quickly takes to international rugby and their pride will demand revenge for their four straight defeats at the hands of England. With those tests all going down to the wire, they will fancy their chances of causing an upset at HQ.

Samoa

Samoa, though still achieving international success, are not currently showing the form that saw once them regularly claim the scapls of bigger rugby nations.

That reason alone may tempt Eddie Jones to throw a few more young bolters into the mix and that, against a side always fully committed and dripping with natural talent, could make for the most open and thrilling match of the series.

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