Eddie Jones: More to come from England after climb in world rankings

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live rugby reporter in Sydney
England celebrate series victory in Australia
England earned their first series win in Australia

England have won nine matches in a row and leapt from eighth to second in the world rankings, leaving just New Zealand ahead of them.

So what next for Jones and his side as they try and hunt down the world champions?

Head coach Eddie Jones captured the mood of an excited nation after England completed an historic 3-0 whitewash in Australia, just months after sealing a first Grand Slam in 13 years.

"I'm sure that everyone at home who watched the three Tests can't wait to see us play in November," the Australian said. "They must be lining up at Twickenham now trying to get seats."

Next up for England are the autumn Tests against South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia.

Areas to improve

Jones says England were too inconsistent across the series, best illustrated by the lax defensive displays in the first and third Test matches. Defence coach Paul Gustard will be tasked with ensuring the heroic rearguard effort in the second Test in Melbourne was not a one-off.

"We've got a lot of hard work ahead of us," Jones told BBC Sport after Saturday's 44-40 victory in Sydney. "We have serious deficiencies in our consistency, but that will come with time and with more detailed practice.

"The All Blacks beat Wales by a big score, which just shows their incredible relentlessness. We don't have that yet but that's where we are aiming to go."

Jones will be aware that the Wallabies were hampered in the series by injury and unavailability, and the players acknowledge there is plenty to work on.

"We are not the finished article by any means," said scrum-half Ben Youngs. "We have got to kick on from where we are."

Eddie Jones hails Australia whitewash

World-class players?

Before the Six Nations, Jones said England lacked "world-class players", so have any of his charges elevated themselves to that level since then?

"[Number eight] Billy Vunipola was absolutely outstanding, while his brother Mako really came through on this tour," Jones said.

"I thought Owen [Farrell] and George [Ford] really grew as guys who could control a game, they knew when to run, knew when to kick, and knew when to pass. So they are the guys that really stood out."

Jones also had special praise for prop Dan Cole, who has been another key performer for England after a difficult World Cup, while flankers James Haskell and Chris Robshaw were also outstanding and lock Maro Itoje has continued his staggering development.

Owen Farrell
Farrell finished the series with 66 points and an 88 per cent conversion rate

Undroppable Owen

Farrell scored an astonishing 66 points in the series, nailing 23 out of his 26 kicks at goal in the process.

At the start of the season the debate was whether Farrell or Ford should play at fly-half; this tour has shown that there must be a place for Farrell in the starting XV, regardless of the number on his back.

The Saracen has been compared to all-time great Jonny Wilkinson by the Australian media because of his relentless accuracy from the tee and, if he stays fit, chasing down Wilkinson's England points record is not unfeasible.

But while Jones has spoken in the past of his desire for a big ball-carrier at inside-centre - Luther Burrell started the series in Brisbane - it will now be hard to break up the Ford and Farrell combination at 10 and 12, with both players excelling down under.

The two could become "legends of the game" according to skills coach Glen Ella, and it would be a surprise if they both don't start in the autumn.

However, Jones will have options in the midfield: Manu Tuilagi will be drafted back into the squad if he can finally avoid injury, while Northampton's Harry Mallinder caught the eye as he led the England to the World Rugby Under 20 Championship at the weekend.

Then there is Ben Te'o, who didn't feature in the tour down under, but will be playing in the Premiership next season with Worcester.

Eddie Jones (centre)
Jones masterminded Japan's shock victory over South Africa in last year's World Cup before joining England

Jones gets on his bike

While urging his players to improve, Jones is looking to do likewise, and will spend time with the Orica GreenEDGE team at next month's Tour de France in the belief he must develop as a coach if England are to the top the world rankings.

"I'm keen to have a look at what they do because I've got to get better," he said. "If the team's not consistent, then our coaching's not good enough. You can never take your foot off the pedal."

England wins under Eddie Jones
Saturday 6 FebruaryScotland (2016 Six Nations)15-9
Sunday 14 FebruaryItaly (2016 Six Nations)40-9
Saturday 27 FebruaryIreland (2016 Six Nations)21-10
Saturday 12 MarchWales (2016 Six Nations)25-21
Saturday 19 MarchFrance (2016 Six Nations)31-21
Sunday 29 MayWales (Summer international)27-13
Saturday 11 JuneAustralia (Test series)39-28
Saturday 18 JuneAustralia (Test series)23-7
Saturday 25 JuneAustralia (Test series)44-40

Unbeaten 2016?

England don't play New Zealand until 2017 at the earliest, and while supporters would love to see the side's resurgence tested against the best in the world, the schedule does present England with a genuine chance of going through 2016 unbeaten.

South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia visit Twickenham in the autumn, with all four matches eminently winnable. It may be that England have won 12 from 12 ahead of a rematch with the Wallabies on the first weekend of December.

"Absolutely, there's no reason we can't [win every match]," said Youngs. "But there is a lot of rugby to be played between now and then. It's an exciting time for England rugby, and I feel very privileged to have been a part of this tour party."

"English rugby is in a good place," reflected captain Dylan Hartley. "We were in a dark place maybe six months ago, and I hope we have now given the people something to cheer about."

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