England must beware party poopers Ireland: Jones

Julian GUYER
1 / 2
England's head coach Eddie Jones takes a team training session at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, west of London on March 16, 2017

England coach Eddie Jones warned his men that Ireland would relish wrecking their history bid in Dublin on Saturday and challenged his side to keep "climbing the ladder of success".

Victory for England, already crowned Six Nations champions after a 61-21 Calcutta Cup thrashing of Scotland at Twickenham last week, would see them set a new record of 19 consecutive Test wins by a leading rugby union nation.

It would also mean they become the first side in the Six Nations era to complete back-to-back Grand Slams.

England, in part because of the wealth of their governing Rugby Football Union and large player base, have often been labelled arrogant by their opponents.

But Jones, an Australian, has spoken of how he finds English people in general and his players in particular "polite" and "reserved", with the prospect of success not always sitting comfortably on their shoulders.

Having said after the Scotland match that England had an opportunity to achieve "greatness" by winning at Dublin's Lansdowne Road, Jones believes his side are coming to terms with what they could achieve this weekend.

"I think the team has embraced it," said Jones at England's training base in Bagshot, southwest of London, after naming his side Thursday to play Ireland.

"To go from where we go to greatness takes another step of endeavour. It takes greater focus, it takes greater persistence, it takes greater emotional output," the former Australia and Japan coach added.

"It is like climbing up a mountain: every time you go to another level of the mountain it becomes more unstable. The ground becomes more unstable, your ears hurt, your nose hurts.

"It is exactly the same when you are climbing the ladder of success -- everything becomes a bit harder."

Many an England team has seen dreams of glory turn to dust in Dublin.

Jones's side contains several survivors from the 2011 team, including current captain Dylan Hartley, that went to Lansdowne Road on the verge of a Grand Slam only to be beaten 24-8.

"We’ve certainly had guys who were involved talk about it," said Jones.

"We know the pitfalls of what can happen. We know how much the Irish dislike the English and how much they like spoiling the party."

- Praise for predecessor -

Ireland's title hopes came to an end last week following their 22-9 defeat by Wales in Cardiff.

It was Ireland, however, who ended world champions New Zealand's 18-match winning streak with a dramatic 40-29 success in Chicago in November and Jones said: "Any team that beats the All Blacks are a very good team.

"Most teams in the Six Nations have one big performance, so we are anticipating them to be at their best on Saturday."

But Jones insisted England's "big performance" had not come and gone with their seven-try rout of Scotland that featured a hat-trick for centre Jonathan Joseph.

"When I said 'most teams' we are not 'most teams'," he explained. "We are a different team, we've showed that, and we are ready to take it to another level on Saturday."

Jones paid tribute to England predecessor Stuart Lancaster for laying the foundations of their success.

Jones, yet to lose a match as England coach, took over after Lancaster was sacked following a 2015 World Cup where successive Twickenham defeats by Wales and Australia meant tournament hosts England failed to reach the knockout stages.

However, several members of the current team were given their Test debuts by Lancaster, and Jones said: "He was the guy that brought this team through, went through some hard yards with them, most of the players are still the same."