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

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian