x

Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 February 2019

England playing at their best since Eddie Jones took charge, says Ben Youngs

Scrum-half part of the side that has began 2019 Six Nations campaign with wins over Ireland and France

England scrum-half Ben Youngs says the opening two performances of this year's Six Nations has been the best under Eddie Jones' reign. Reuters
England scrum-half Ben Youngs says the opening two performances of this year's Six Nations has been the best under Eddie Jones' reign. Reuters

England's Six Nations wins over defending champions Ireland and France were the best the team had played since Eddie Jones was appointed head coach in 2015, scrum-half Ben Youngs said.

England stunned Ireland 32-20 in their opener in Dublin before thrashing France 44-8 at Twickenham to move to the top of the table, with two bonus points giving them a two-point lead over second-placed Wales.

When Youngs was asked whether this was England's best form since Jones took charge, the 29-year-old Leicester Tigers player told reporters: "From what I remember since I've been involved with Eddie, yes.

"It's probably not higher intensity, just more consistent with it. Maybe that's maturity, personnel.

"If you're 30-8 up against France at half time you are doing something right. There weren't many mistakes."

England's next match is a trip to Wales, who are also unbeaten, on February 23 and the clash in Cardiff is billed as a potential title decider that can give the winner a chance to win the Grand Slam.

"Wales have had a good run, we are going to embrace and enjoy the big two-week build-up," Youngs, who has 82 England caps, said.

"This is what the championship is about, it always comes down to certain games. France was a championship decider, the same in a fortnight's time."

Teammate Jamie George said England still had room for improvement ahead of their showdown with Wales.

"We have to be aware that we did well against France but recognise that it wasn't the perfect performance," he said.

"An exciting thing for us is there's still a lot to come. The important thing for us is to keep the ball rolling."

France fly-half Camille Lopez said the blame lies with the players following Sunday's humiliating loss to England.

It was Les Bleus' heaviest defeat to an English side since 1911 and means they have only won three from 13 games since Jacques Brunel took over in December 2017.

The Clermont outside-half, 29, admitted the squad take responsibility for the hammering but fingers could also be pointed elsewhere, he suggested.

"We are the first to be at fault, us the players, since we are on the field," Lopez said.

"But I think it is not just us, and we are not alone in this disaster," the 20-time international added.

France next face Scotland on February 23 in Paris and play England again this year at the World Cup in Japan.

Updated: February 12, 2019 05:01 PM

SHARE

SHARE