England end 2016 unbeaten after beating Australia at Twickenham on Saturday
Head coach Eddie Jones has challenged his side to become the number one team in the world
The win also equalled the 14-game record of England’s 2003 team.
Eddie Jones has challenged England to become the number one team in the world after seeing them go 2016 unbeaten and equal the 14-game record of England’s 2003 team.
Saturday’s win against the Wallabies also saw the Red Rose seal an Old Mutual Wealth Series clean sweep after beating South Africa, Fiji and Argentina in their autumn fixtures three .
Under Jones’ guidance England have also moved to number two in the World Rugby rankings, where they are behind New Zealand.
“We’re progressing. We can’t get too ahead of ourselves,” Jones said.
“We’re only the number two team in the world and we want to be number one. We’ve got a long way to go before we achieve that. And we’re hellbent on achieving that. We’ve got the talent here.
“It’s just whether we get the desire and cohesion right. That’s what we’re aiming to do.”
Comparisons naturally have been made to Rugby World Cup winning side from 2003, who won 16 out of their 17 matches that year including a one-point loss to France, but Jones stressed that England have a long way to go to match Martin Johnson’s side.
“The 2003 side were a much better side than we are at the moment. They had a very consistent scrum and lineout, we don’t have that yet but we are getting there but they were a much better side than we are,” Jones explained.
“We have got until the November 2, 20:00 Japan time in 2019 to get ready and that is what we are aiming at – we have got to be at our best that night. It is 1020 days. Every day counts
“If players don’t challenge themselves they won’t be here and that is the reality of it.”
Asked if he had changed on his mind on a previous statement that England had no world-class players at their disposal, Jones backed his previous assessment.
“It has not changed – just because we have won 13 games there is not one player who would be automatically be picked in a World XV – that is a world-class player. We are heading in the right direction.”
England’s players will now head back to their clubs before attention in 2017 turns to defending their Six Nations crown, with Jones expecting those who have represented the national side to stick out in the Premiership and Champions Cup.
“I want them to go back to their clubs and play like international players. They can’t be the best player on the ground every week but they have to play with the intent of being international players,” he said.
“That means you go to the ground – if you didn’t know them you would know they are the best players there. So Marland [Yarde] goes back and plays for Harlequins, he can’t just walk around the field and have a great old time at the Stoop. He has got to chase hard, make his tackles and run hard – like he did today and that is what we want to see.”