Jones vows to revive England

Eddie Jones says he intends to build on England’s “traditional strengths” after becoming their first foreign coach and has vowed not to slavishly copy the approach of world champions New Zealand.

The 55-year-old Australian was appointed on a four-year-deal by England’s Rugby Football Union on Friday following the team’s miserable World Cup display.

Former boss Stuart Lancaster stood down on November 11 after England became the first host nation to exit the World Cup in the group stage.

England looked decidedly off the pace compared to the All Blacks but Jones told a Twickenham press conference on Friday: “England have traditionally been strong at the set-piece and had a bulldog defence. You don’t want to take that away.

“We need to add to the game. You’ve got to create your own unique style of play and I want the players to believe in it 100 per cent.

“We are not going to copy the All Blacks. We want the All Blacks to be looking at England.

“Everyone says New Zealand are a great attacking side, and they are, but they kick the ball more than anyone.

“It’s not about kicking or passing, it’s about playing the rugby appropriate for that situation,” explained Jones, whose first game in charge of England will be their Six Nations opener away to Scotland on February 6.

Jones, coach of the Australia side that lost the 2003 World Cup final to England and the man behind Japan’s impressive performance at this year’s edition, which included a shock win over South Africa, said he had been left a “great legacy” by Lancaster.

“England have won two of the last three under-20s World Cups so there’s great talent out there,” said Jones, whose contract runs to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

“The last World Cup side in 2015, at least 70 per cent of those guys can go into 2019. It’s a great legacy that Lancaster has left, there’s an opportunity to build something here.”

He added: “It’s funny how things work out. Last week I was sitting in Cape Town, looking at Table Mountain with my sunglasses on and now I’m here with my overcoat on.”

Jones said he had to take the “once in a lifetime” chance to coach England after leaving the Stormers barely a week into his time with the South African side after stepping down as Japan boss.

“I don’t feel good about what I did to the Stormers. But this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I had to take it.”

Writing as a columnist for Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, during the World Cup, Jones suggested that England would be a better side if they had included Steffon Armitage in their squad.

Armitage, who plays club rugby in France for European champions Toulon, was not chosen by Lancaster because of England’s ban on selecting overseas players for Test duty.

Armitage also plays in the same openside flanker position as current England captain Chris Robshaw.

Jones criticised Robshaw in his Mail column as not being a genuine openside, but on Friday said he was just being “naughty”.

And as for England’s overseas policy, Jones added Friday: “You always have a bit of a view when you’re outside the tent.

“I want players who want to play for England and to play for England you have to play in the Premiership, and the Premiership is a strong competition.

“Also, I’m happy with what we’ve got.”

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