Every other year the Red Rose travels to Edinburgh, Rome and Glasgow, but despite their two away games coming against the tournament’s two traditionally weaker sides in Scotland and Italy, England have only won one of their four championships from such a fixture list.
While Jones may have billed Scotland as favourites for England’s tournament opener on Saturday, history suggests the new head coach can reasonably expect to win at Murrayfield and again a week later in Italy, where England have a 46 per cent and 100 per cent win rate respectively in the Five and Six Nations.
A poor record in France and a recurring failure to capitalise on home advantage against Wales and Ireland has repeatedly thwarted England’s title hopes. Only in 2000, the first year of the six-team format, have England won with such a fixture list; their next three triumphs in 2001, 2003 and 2011 have all been secured with away games at Wales and Ireland.
England average 6.6 points from a tournament when handed the “three blues away” fixture list, but 7.3 points when they play that trio at Twickenham.
When the fixtures have been in the latter format, England have more often than not swept Scotland and Italy aside. They have won 100 per cent of their home matches against the two nations and usually beat France too, with a 87.5 per cent win record at home against Les Bleus. By contrast, at home England have a 62.5 per cent win record against Ireland and a 75 per cent win record against Wales.
A loss to either side at home has often denied England the title. Dominance in home games with France, Italy and Scotland has offset a poor record away to Wales and Ireland, where England have a 34 and 45 per cent win record respectively across the history of the tournament in its various incarnations.