Stunning England turn their sights to ‘greatest Welsh side ever’ after trouncing France
PUBLISHED: 08:47 11 February 2019
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Eddie Jones started the mind games early as he set his sights on the “greatest Welsh side ever” following England’s 44-8 mauling of France at Twickenham.
Jonny May scored a first-half hat-trick with Henry Slade, Harpenden St George’s Owen Farrell, who also kicked 14 points, and a penalty try also adding the tally as the hosts backed up their impressive win in Dublin eight days earlier.
And the head coach’s remarks clearly indicated he had not forgotten the claims made by Welsh supremo Warren Gatland, who said Wales and their old foes were “poles apart” after England suffered a five-test losing run.
Jones said: “There’s a lot more in this team and we understand that and we’re committed to being the very best we can be.
“When we get back together on Wednesday we’ll start the process of how we can get better again.
“We’re playing the greatest Welsh side ever. We’re going to have to be at our absolute best.
“You know you’re playing against a Warren Gatland side. He’s been at the top of the tree in European rugby for the last 15 years, through his club and country and the Lions.
“You’re playing against a tough, physical team. They contest hard at the breakdown. You’ve got to earn every point against them.
“We’re looking forward to going down there. Should be fun.”
England will head to Cardiff on February 23 in the battle of the only two remaining unbeaten teams in the Guinness Six Nations full of confidence after the almost record-breaking win over the French, falling just one short of the 37-point margin posted in 1911.
They led 30-8 at the interval on Sunday with a bonus point already in the bag but Jones insisted the second-half performance was even better.
He said: “I think when you put yourself in a position where after 30 minutes you’ve got a bonus point against a top team you’ve done pretty well.
“The second half performance was even better. Even though we didn’t score as many points, our focus and our discipline to keep France scoreless was outstanding.
“But we just had a quick chat in the room there and we felt we probably left 15 to 20 points on the field.”
Jones reserved particular praise for May, who took his Test tally to 22 tries in 42 appearances, with two of his scores coming as reward for chasing kicks.
He said: “Jonny May’s like when you go to the park and you see someone with a tennis ball and they throw it, the dog runs 100mph and chases it and brings it back. He does that pretty well.”