Jones expects England to complete Grand Slam


Eddie Jones is confident England will complete a first Grand Slam in 13 years if they maintain the high standards they have set when they face underachievers France in Paris on Saturday.

Victory over Wales at Twickenham last Saturday sealed the Triple Crown for England and Scotland's win over France at Murrayfield a day later ensured they were crowned Six Nations champions for the first time since 2011.

Jones has transformed England from a side that failed to progress beyond their pool in the World Cup on home soil last year after he was named Stuart Lancaster's replacement.

But the wily Australian said it is by no means job done as England eye a Grand Slam that has proved to be so elusive.

The England head coach said: "We haven't done anything yet. We've got the Six Nations trophy, but it doesn't feel like that. Once we beat France on Saturday it will feel like that.

"France away for a Grand Slam is a great test. The first 20 minutes is going to be a good physical test, but this is also a great mental test.

"Why have we won the trophy with one game to spare? It's not because we are inferior to the other teams.

"We're the better team and we have to believe we're the better team. If you go into Grand Slam games thinking you're not the better team, you are going to get beaten."

Back-to-back defeats against Wales and Scotland put paid to France's hopes of setting up a title showdown with England at Stade de France and Jones is plotting to inflict more misery on Guy Noves' men.

He added: "If you look at their team, they have got very talented individuals. We are certain they will play a traditional French game based on forward power and off-the-cuff rugby,

"We have just got to be intense and physical to not allow them in the game. They have got a new coach who likes a certain style of play and they are trying to develop that play."

Jones accused Wales of trying to distract England in the build-up to the game in Paris as the row over an independent disciplinary committee's decision not to punish Joe Marler rumbles on.

Marler will start on the bench this weekend after no further action was taken following his citing for calling Samson Lee "gypsy boy" or a separate incident in which he struck Rob Evans.

Mako Vunipola replaces Marker, Danny Care is preferred to Ben Youngs at scrum-half, and Bernard Le Roux and Loann Goujon form a new-look back row for Les Bleus.


Key Opta Stats:

- England have won seven of their last nine games against France in the Six Nations, however both defeats in that run came away from home.

- France have won six of their last eight home games in the Six Nation and have won five of their last seven at home against England in the competition.

- The last three Six Nations meetings between these side in Paris were all settled by a two-point margin. Six of the eight meetings between the two in France have been won by fewer than seven points.

- England have scored three tries from turnover ball, more than any other team in this tournament. While France are one of two teams yet to score a try after winning a turnover (along with Italy).

- Billy Vunipola has made the most carries of any player in the tournament (75) and has beaten the most defenders of any forward (20).