Rugby

All Blacks in England boss Jones's sights

Eddie Jones took a moment away from heaping praise on his England side for making light work of Fiji to aim a taunt at the All Blacks.

England coach Eddie Jones (R) could not resist stirring up the growing rivalry between England and New Zealand, insisting his team had the «potential for greatness» © (William West | AFP)

England coach Eddie Jones (R) could not resist stirring up the growing rivalry between England and New Zealand, insisting his team had the «potential for greatness» © (William West | AFP)

LONDON - Eddie Jones took a moment away from heaping praise on his England side for making light work of Fiji to aim a taunt at the All Blacks.

The former Wallabies coach, who wants to build a team capable of toppling the world champions from their No 1 perch, could not resist stirring up the growing rivalry between England and New Zealand, who avenged their recent Chicago defeat by Ireland with a 21-9 win in Dublin on Saturday.

As England celebrated their 11th win under Jones, and their 12th in succession, by crushing Fiji 58-15 at Twickenham, the Australian insisted his team had the "potential for greatness".

Replying to a question on whether his side will be on a par with the All Blacks by the time the teams next meet in two years' time, Jones said: "Will they (New Zealand) still be number one by then? We'll have to see.

"We're only 11 games into what we're trying to do here. Now we need to get the show really going and we are just about to jump into the deep end."

England coach Eddie Jones had particular praise for George Ford's performance against Fiji calling it «outstanding»

England coach Eddie Jones had particular praise for George Ford's performance against Fiji calling it «outstanding» (© Adrian Dennis | AFP)

Before Saturday's kick-off, Jones had called on England to play "fish and chips" rugby in order to prevent a Fijian "kava party" at Twickenham and after seeing the hosts run in nine tries he said: "It was the best fish and chips in England! No Kava today....

"There was some excellent rugby played by the team and I thought George Ford was outstanding," added Jones of his outside-half.

"Roko did well," said the coach as he praised Fiji-born wing Semesa Rokoduguni, who marked his second England cap with two tries. "We have great competition across the board.

"I was really happy with aspects of our game. We dropped off at times but it's always hard to maintain that intensity. There is potential for real greatness in our team."

England now turn their attention to Argentina, their Twickenham opponents this coming Saturday, before rounding off the 2016 international programme at home to Australia the following weekend.

England coach Eddie Jones praised Fiji-born wing Semesa Rokoduguni (R), who marked his second England cap with two tries

England coach Eddie Jones praised Fiji-born wing Semesa Rokoduguni (R), who marked his second England cap with two tries (© Adrian Dennis | AFP)

«Perfect game»

Against Fiji, England scored five tries inside the opening 26 minutes but did concede three either side of half-time.

"I'm not frustrated by the three tries we conceded," insisted Jones. "Everybody wants to play the perfect game but when you do that you may as well retire.

"We would like to be better in defence but it will come. It will come next week against Argentina."

The South Americans were edged out 19-16 by Scotland on Saturday but Jones, speaking before a dour Murrayfield struggle, said: "The Pumas have always been a very good team which plays very good structured rugby in the set-piece especially.

"But now they have some excellent runners with the ball and can play the unstructured stuff just as well.

"They are a difficult team to play against Argentina but we will worry about that tomorrow (Sunday) morning."

Meanwhile, Jones revealed he will not stand in the way of forwards coach Steve Borthwick if he is selected as a member of Warren Gatland's staff when the British and Irish Lions tour New Zealand next year.

"I'm not Warren Gatland so I don't know what he is thinking. But if Borths goes, he goes with our blessing," said Jones.

Fiji coach John McKee said his side allowed England, who started the end-of-year Test programme with victory over South Africa, to gain too much early momentum.

"We gave England too many metres and a side like that will capitalise on their opportunities," McKee said.

"England were very good in attack and very clinical. They showed what a quality side they are and will cause problems for any team they face."

The New Zealander added: "I expect England to get stronger in the coming Tests, and it is not unfeasible that they go unbeaten. But Argentina and Australia will really challenge them."