Eddie wary of Ireland's 'confidence and swagger'
REACTION: Eddie Jones warned England to get ready for their “most important game of the year” against a “cock-a-hoop Ireland” after they started the Nations Cup with a 40-0 thrashing of Georgia at Twickenham on Saturday.
Jamie George became the first England hooker to score a hat-trick of tries as the Six Nations champions pounded the Lelos into submission with repeated line-out drives.
But only one of England’s six tries at a rainswept Twickenham came from a sustained handling move, with wing Jonathan Joseph’s dashing break leading to a 38th-minute score for fullback Elliot Daly.
And Jones knows England will have to go up a gear when they welcome Ireland to ‘headquarters’ next weekend after the Irish opened the tournament with an emphatic 32-9 win over Wales in Dublin on Friday.
“We realise the Ireland game is going to be the most important game of the year,” Jones told reporters.
“Ireland will be cock-a-hoop after their big win against Wales so they’ll come with plenty of confidence and swagger.”
A match against a Georgia side starved of major internationals outside of World Cups allowed Jones to field an experimental XV full of new combinations, with flank Jack Willis marking his Test debut by scoring England’s opening try.
An unfamiliar side playing in increasingly wet conditions may explain why an error-prone England did not win by an even greater margin.
But Jones was pleased by the way last year’s losing World Cup finalists overpowered Georgia at the scrum, the Lelos’ traditional strength.
“I thought our set-piece cohesion was absolutely outstanding, we probably would have liked to have been a bit sharper in terms of our execution with the ball we won,” he said.
Jones, still with vivid memories of his forwards brawling with the Georgia pack during an Oxford training session in February of last year, added: “When you sit down and talk about scrummaging, Georgia comes to mind.
“So we wanted to make a point today that we won’t be stood over and we did that.”
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Meanwhile, a modest George downplayed his achievement by saying: “It is quite embarrassing. I just happened to be on the end of maul tries.”
England came out of the game with an injury concern over Joseph, who went off with a back spasm moments after creating Daly’s try.
Nevertheless, Jones said England were “cautiously optimistic” about Joseph’s prospects of facing Ireland.
Despite this result, the former Australia and Japan coach believed Georgia, who next play a struggling Wales, could look forward to a “positive future”.
“They’ve got a number of good, young players coming through who have been involved in their successful Under-20 side,” said Jones.
“They still have the trademarks of a strong scrum and driving maul, but they’re also producing backs who have a bit of feel for the game.
“There’s a really positive future for the Georgia team.”
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) November 14, 2020