England back to business after securing Six Nations title

Owen Farrell has led England to Six Nations glory
Owen Farrell has led England to Six Nations glory (PA Archive)
15:42pm, Sun 01 Nov 2020
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Owen Farrell presented his England team-mates with their winners medal as celebrations over claiming the third Guinness Six Nations title of the Eddie Jones era continued.

A 34-5 bonus-point victory over Italy in Rome saw England replace Wales as champions but it was only upon their return to their training base in Teddington on Sunday morning that they were awarded a trophy they last held in 2017.

Coronavirus protocols meant the presentation took place within the squad’s bubble, limiting those present to players, coaches and staff.

“It was fantastic. Obviously it’s not the same, everything is a bit different now. The players walked to the stage, there were fireworks,” Eddie Jones said.

“Owen got to be (World Rugby chairman) Bill Beaumont and put the medals around the players’ necks!

“All the paper goes off and the fireworks go off. The players enjoy that solitary moment and then we’re back to business.

“There were 40 or 50 people there and they had big smiles on their faces and hopefully we can do a bit more of that.”

England shook off the rust after seven months of inactivity caused by the coronavirus pandemic to dismantle Italy, but to be crowned champions of Europe they still needed events at the Stade de France to go their way.

Eddie Jones is proud of his England players (PA Wire)

Having returned to the team hotel in Rome, everyone gathered to watch the final part of ‘Super Saturday’ and the festivities could start once Ireland had been defeated 35-27.

The players now have a break from international duty until Thursday when they will begin preparations for the Autumn Nations Cup opener against Georgia on November 14.

Jones has repeatedly championed the need to give the country reason to cheer amid the coronavirus crisis by delivering on the pitch and England’s head coach knows the spotlight is upon his squad.

A week ago, the planned warm-up against the Barbarians had to be cancelled after 13 of the invitational club’s players breached Covid-19 rules by going out on successive nights in London.

The Six Nations is only going to get better and better and stronger and stronger.

“We’ve got to be cognoscente of the fact that everyone is looking at what we’re doing. We’re got to be so grateful for this opportunity,” Jones said.

“We’re so lucky to be able to play international rugby when countries are in lockdown around Europe. All of our players are aware of their responsibilities, as are the staff.

“We understand that responsibility and we want to make sure again that we try to put smiles on people’s faces.

“We’ve started the autumn well, but there’s still a fair bit to go. It starts again in two weeks against Georgia, but I’m really proud of the players’ efforts.

“I really like the way the team conducted themselves during this tournament. They got on with the job, not looked for any sort of excuse, regardless of what’s happened, and played good, tough hard rugby, which you have to do to win a Six Nations.

“The Six Nations is one of the toughest competitions in the world to win because it’s such a competitive, physical contest and you’ve got to be at your best every game.

“You have Ireland and Wales consistently in the top five in the world. We’ve been there or thereabouts and now France are bouncing back from a bottom 10 side to a top five side.

“So what does that give you? A pretty strong competition. You’ve got four very good teams. Scotland are improving and Italy under Franco Smith are definitely going to get better.

“The Six Nations is only going to get better and better and stronger and stronger.”

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