Jones challenges England to keep climbing the mountain


Eddie Jones has likened England's rise to climbing a mountain as they attempt to scale new heights by claiming a record 19th consecutive victory against Ireland on Saturday.

England demolished Scotland 61-21 at Twickenham last weekend to retain their Six Nations title and match New Zealand's feat of winning 18 consecutive tier-one matches.

Another success at the Aviva Stadium will see them break new ground and seal back-to-back Grand Slams, but head coach Jones knows his side will be heading into uncharted territory in Dublin.

"To go from where we are to go to greatness takes another step of endeavour," said the Australian. "It takes greater focus, it takes greater persistence, it takes greater emotional output.

"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.

"And sometimes you have got to just stop and say, 'Right, this is what is ahead of us.' And probably we weren't very good at that. In retrospect, that's my fault.

"We have done that and I think the players have understood the challenges ahead and re-equipped for the challenges ahead."

Jones expects Ireland to come out firing on all cylinders after a defeat to Wales in Cardiff last Friday ended their hopes of reclaiming the title.

"We'll go into the Aviva Stadium ready to play and ready to take the stage," he said. "We know Ireland are going to come out and have all their guns blazing, they've got nothing to worry about.

"They've got no fear or failure, they were favourites for the competition and now they are out of it, so we are anticipation a tough encounter."

Jones named Billy Vunipola and Anthony Watson in his starting line-up, with Nathan Hughes and Jack Nowell dropping to the bench.