Maintain your standards or risk the axe, Eddie Jones tells his England players after perfect year

 
Ross McLean
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England skipper Dylan Hartley lifted silverware after England beat Australia at Twickenham on Saturday (Source: Getty)

England head coach Eddie Jones has warned his record-equalling players that an unbeaten 2016 will not shield them from the axe should standards slip prior to next year’s Six Nations.

Jones led England to their 14th consecutive victory – the 13th of his reign – with a 37-21 triumph over bitter foes Australia on Saturday, a result which levelled the previous national record set by Sir Clive Woodward’s World Cup heirs in 2003.

A Pennyhill Park debrief yesterday preceded the players returning to their clubs, and while Jones insists he knows the exact make-up of the Six Nations squad he would like to select, a drop in performance levels will not be tolerated.

“If they don’t keep performing, they won’t be in the team,” said Jones. “No-one owns an English jersey, they borrow the jersey for 80 minutes and if they’re lucky enough to get it again, they’ll have worked hard to get it.

“If players aren’t hungry then you can see it in their performance straight away, and they won’t be here. We have got enough depth to change the squad if we need to.

“But also intrinsically you want the players to just want to do it, and we’re developing players like that.

“When you get six, seven or eight players with that absolute desire to do well then if you’re not in that group then you tend to fall out. That is how great teams keep getting better. We haven’t got that tipping point yet. We’re moving towards it.

“A team is a dynamic organism and it has its own life. You’ve just got to keep doing the right things, keep doing the right processes and eventually it will come together.”

Jones has made no secret of his overriding aim to guide England to the world’s No1 spot, the next stage of which is retaining their Six Nations crown. A second successive Grand Slam would see his charges surpass New Zealand’s record of 18 straight Test wins.

“Being an outsider in the Six Nations, I thought there was an absolute fear of losing, rather than wanting to win,” added Jones.

“What we want to do in the Six Nations is go out there and win it and that’s the attitude we want to have.”

England's perfect year

Six Nations

6 Feb 2016: Scotland 9-15 England

14 Feb 2016: Italy 9-40 England

27 Feb 2016: England 21-10 Ireland

12 March 2016: England 25-21 Wales

19 March 2016: France 21-31 England

Summer

29 May 2016: England 27-13 Wales

11 June 2016: Australia 28-39 England

18 June 2016: Australia 7-23 England

25 June 2016: Australia 40-44 England

Autumn

12 Nov 2016: England 37-21 South Africa

19 Nov 2016: England 58-15 Fiji

26 Nov 2016: England 27-14 Argentina

3 Dec 2016: England 37-21 Australia

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