Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Wonderful’ Six Nations excites England boss Jones




‘Wonderful’ Six Nations excites England boss Jones

England wing Anthony Watson scores a try during their Six Nations match against Italy at the Olympic  Stadium in Rome on Sunday.
England wing Anthony Watson scores a try during their Six Nations match against Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on Sunday.

‘Wonderful’ Six Nations excites England boss Jones

England coach Eddie Jones forecast fans were in for a treat following the “wonderful rugby” played on the opening weekend of this season’s Six Nations.

Jones’s men launched their bid for an unprecedented third successive outright title by rounding off the first round of fixtures with a 46-15 win away to Italy in Rome on Sunday.

A crowd of more than 61,000 spectators at the Stadio Olimpico saw England run in seven tries, with an emboldened Italy scoring two of their own before fading away late on.

The fixture capped a weekend where Wales hammered Scotland 34-7 in Cardiff, while Ireland needed a last-ditch drop goal from Johnny Sexton to see off France 15-13 in Paris.

It all promised a truly competitive tournament, in marked contrast to last year’s Rugby Championship where world champions New Zealand were yet again the overwhelmingly dominant side in the southern hemisphere equivalent of the Six Nations.

“I thought if you look at the three games in the championship so far, what wonderful rugby,” Jones said. “You had Wales and Scotland throwing the ball from side-to-side, you had Ireland and France in an old-fashioned arm wrestle.

“You saw [on Sunday] that there was a bit of an arm wrestle and then it opened up at the end.

“We feel honoured to be part of the tournament and the tournament is only going to get better,” added the Australian after overseeing his 23rd victory in 24 Tests in charge of England.

“We go next week [against Wales] at Twickenham, there will be 82,00 people, they’ll be absolutely pumped and we’ll be pumped to play in front of them.”

The speedy Watson gave England an early 10-0 lead with two unconverted tries and Jones, perhaps mindful he was in Italy, said: “He got the Maserati out of the car park today.”

‘Twenty20 Simmonds’

Simmonds might not have even been on the bench had both Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes been fit, but the Exeter back-row did not look out of place in what was just his fourth Test.

“Sam’s a good young lad with a great set of skills,” said Jones.

“If he was a cricketer he’d be playing Twenty20,” the avid cricket fan added. “He’s a bit different – he’s fast and runs good lines.”

Reflecting on England’s overall performance, Jones said: “Our scrum and line-out was absolutely first-class. I don’t think we’ve scrummed as well as that in the time I’ve been in charge of England.

“We were completely dominant and that’s English rugby. When the game broke up at the end we were able to score tries . . . It wasn’t the perfect game but very, very positive.”

The one downside for England was the sight of Ben Youngs being taken off on a medical cart just 10 minutes into the game after crying out in pain when his knee buckled during a tackle.

“Ben will have an examination [today] so we’ll know more after that,” said Jones. “He’s unlikely to be available for the Wales game.”

As for who would join Danny Care, who came off the bench in Rome, as a scrum-half in England’s squad for Wales, a playful Jones, indicating a preference for a “kicking” No9, said: “They’re on the Batphone mate.”

Sunday’s result meant Italy, who’ve now lost all 24 of their Tests against England, had gone 1,072 days since they last enjoyed a win over any opponent in the Six Nations.

“I’m proud and angry,” said Italy coach Conor O’Shea, the former Ireland fullback, after a match where Azzurri skipper Sergio Parisse suffered a rib injury.

“Proud because we saw a team with a lot of potential for the future. But I’m annoyed because we caused them a lot of problems with the ball but the defeat is another statistic.”

Italy next face O’Shea’s compatriots in Dublin and he admitted: “It’s a long, hard road ahead for us and we will have to be more disciplined against Ireland.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Police arrest 29 Chinese for kidnapping in capital

    Phnom Penh Military Police arrested 29 Chinese nationals on kidnapping charges on Wednesday. The suspects are said to have abducted three other Chinese nationals from a hotel in Chaktomuk commune, Daun Penh district. The operation took place on Wednesday and was led by two deputy commanders –

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia