Six Nations Rugby | Ambitious Jones has sights set high for Guinness Six Nations

Having narrowly missed out on glory at the Rugby World Cup in Japan in the autumn, Jones seems intent on pressing forwards – rather than looking backwards – after he named a fresh-looking squad for the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.

There are only three players aged 30 or over among Jones’ new generation, with consistency a key area he is striving for in his relentless ambition for success.

“We missed our goal of becoming the best team in the world, so our challenge is to become the best team in the world but also I think we have the opportunity to play rugby which is the greatest rugby the game has ever seen,” Jones said.

“We want to make sure we become a great team that plays fantastic rugby. I think over the last four years we have touched on that at various times but never been able to do it with any sustainability so that’s the challenge going forwards.

“We’ve picked the best squad available and at the same time we have wanted to bring some young players in because we need to keep building the depth and we need to keep looking for players who can be better than the players we have.

“We have rewarded a couple of young guys who have done particularly well for their clubs and it’s an exciting opportunity for them.”

England kick off their 2020 campaign with a trip to the Stade de France, with Jones looking for a repeat of the dominant 44-8 victory they earned on the green green grass of home in 2019.

Jones added: “It is all about raising the standards. How can we raise the standards in terms of the way we prepare, in terms of the way tactically we play the game, in terms of the way physically we play the game, in terms of the way we come together off the field.

“Immediately our first task is to beat France in France and that is the only game we need to worry about.”

While Jones seems intent on focusing only on the opening round and the French challenge that lies in wait, he does though have an eye on how the rest of his rivals are shaping up with less than two weeks to go until the big kick-off.

“We have been doing a little bit of research, obviously Andy Farrell has taken over from Joe Schmidt and they worked closely together for four years,” Jones added.

“He will probably bring a greater physicality to their [Ireland’s] defence and maybe a little bit different in attack.

“[Wayne] Pivac has a big job to do. Warren Gatland was there for 12 years and was massively successful. Pivac has got his own style of play and it will be interesting to see whether they go straight to that Scarlets style of play or stay with the more traditional Wales, Gatland, style of play.

“Italy, with Franco Smith, I think he’ll bring a South African toughness to the Italians. They did some great things under Conor O’Shea but he will bring something a little bit different.

“Then Fabien Galthie was there with France at the World Cup and he likes his teams to be very well organised in attack, likes line speed in defence so we have a reasonable idea of how he will try to change the French team.”

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