Eddie has England on cusp of silverware

Eddie Jones is on the verge of completing a huge turnaround with England, just three months away from the former Wallabies coach leading his team on a three-Test tour to Australia.

England survived a late surge from Wales to put one hand on their first Six Nations title in five years in a 25-21 win on Saturday, with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika a keen observer in the Twickenham crowd.

The victory secured the triple crown and sends England into their final game in France next week on course for a first grand slam since 2003.

England’s 58-point advantage over France, who visit Scotland on Sunday, means even a heavy defeat in Paris would be unlikely to deprive them of the title following four successive second-place finishes under Stuart Lancaster.

A Scotland win at Murrayfield would guarantee England top spot.

“The grand slam is a reality and we can’t wait to get to Paris and to do the business,” said Jones, who took over after England’s disastrous World Cup campaign.

“We need to prepare well and the grand slam is there for us to take.”

The performance demonstrated the progress England have made since last autumn’s loss to the same opponents which did so much to eliminate them from the World Cup in the group stages.

Wales were as dominant in the final 20 minutes as England were the first 60, with the home side surviving Dan Cole’s late yellow card.

A Anthony Watson’s try and four penalties from Owen Farrell had them 19-0 ahead 15 minutes into the second period as Wales barely got out of their own half.

A chargedown try by Dan Biggar got the visitors on the board but England still looked comfortable until Wales burst into life with late tries by George North and Taulupe Faletau to revive memories of their stunning World Cup comeback.

But this time England held out.

Cheika was a curious observer as he begins to plot how to best battle a resurgent England, with the first of three Tests starting on June 11 in Brisbane.

If England arrive in Australia with a Six Nations title, it will further spice up a series during which the Jones-Cheika tactical match-up will be intriguing.

The pair are good friends from their playing days at Sydney club Randwick in the 1980s.

Jones insisted they had come some way to redeeming themselves for their World Cup showing under his predecessor Stuart Lancaster.

“We’re four from four,” said Jones.

“We’re a new team, we weren’t the old team, we’ve moved on, we played differently, thought differently – we played a bit like the old team in the last 20 minutes.

“It’s not (a lack of) fitness, it’s more about trying to protect the lead rather than trying to increase the lead. If we’d played with the same intent we did the first 60, we’d have won that game by a lot more.”

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