Six Nations

England and Jones need time, insists Wilkinson

2016-02-02 23:06
Jonny Wilkinson (File)

London - England legend Jonny Wilkinson has warned fans not to expect an immediate upturn in fortunes under new head coach Eddie Jones.

Australian Jones, who led Japan to an unprecedented three pool stage victories in the recent World Cup, will take charge of his first match on Saturday as England get their Six Nations campaign underway against Scotland at Murrayfield.

England became the first World Cup hosts to fail to reach the knock-out stages last autumn and Jones, who was coach of his home country in the 2003 World Cup final defeat to England, subsequently took over from Stuart Lancaster.

Wilkinson, who kicked the winning drop goal in that final 13 years ago, thinks that England and France, who have Guy Noves as a new coach, need to show patience.

"It is such a tough balance to strike because both these nations have been used to strong international teams and both quite rightly expect good results," Wilkinson told ITV television.

"High-level rugby teams with lasting quality are built from the bottom up, however, and this cannot be done in a few weeks and a harsh conversation or two.

"The first run out is often not the most challenging because the excitement, energy and desire to prove yourself can combine to make something extraordinary.

"It is the rest of the tournament and beyond where good coaching, man management and preparation will be tested.

"Both of these teams will come out firing, it is a case of 100 per cent or not at all at this level which means committing fully to every decision and ultimately trusting your plan, your team and yourself."

England have not won the Grand Slam since 2003 and former flyhalf Wilkinson, who Jones has drafted in as an occasional kicking coach, says that any team just hoping to win the Six Nations must start quickly.

"Scotland will be full of confidence after a great World Cup and Wales will carry a lot of momentum from a courageous effort too," Wilkinson added.

"It will be very exciting to see what France, Ireland, Italy and England bring to the tournament.

"We will get a great picture of how these guys plan to carry on after a difficult time and an idea of the future identities of these teams.

"Whoever gels together fastest will prove the most dangerous."


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Saturday, 03 February 2018
Wales v Scotland, Principality Stadium 16:15
France v Ireland, Stade de France 18:45
Sunday, 04 February 2018
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