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Ireland knock England down to third in world rankings

13 Mars 2018

"If there's a bit of advice here and there that older lads can give, I'm sure we will". He's been proven right.

The Ireland squad have been a gulf above the rest, with an eight point lead over the rivals after four matches going into week five of the competition.

A 22-16 loss to France in Paris has allowed Ireland to seize the crown from Twickenham with a round to spare and on Saturday Joe Schmidt's men travel to London on the brink of a Grand Slam.

The English won 24 of their first 25 tests.

"It is not as if they hadn't had a recent warning about what would happen if they did not master the battle on the floor".

The bonus-point fourth try came with 11 minutes to go, when hooker Sean Cronin, only three minutes after replacing Best, dived over from the back of a rolling maul.

The Scots, 21-8 behind, should have had another try moments later when Horne slipped through a big gap.

"Sometimes success covers over cracks in the team", said Jones. They are a great team and although our styles are different there are definitely things we can look at and put into our game. Jones knows that, too, having criticized England's deployment of Robshaw in that position during the Rugby World Cup when in charge of Japan.

Jones said: "I don't [think we need personnel changes], I think we have the best players here".

The Wasps back convinced Jones that he was ready to play and was immediately drafted into other starting line-up in place of Mike Brown. "But good as we've been, it won't be good enough against England". We've just got to focus now on Ireland.

The England coach was also quick to point out that injuries - Billy Vunipola, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry, Zach Mercer, Courtney Lawes and Hughes are all out of action - played a part in Armand's call-up but added his involvement on the Argentina tour means he would not have any qualms about putting him straight into his side.

The Zimbabwean-born Armand represented Western Province and the Stormers between 2012 and 2013 before he joined Exeter. "It's been hard for George because we've been playing off slow ball". Still, Jones being Jones, he made several forceful points - summarised as England needing more power and a huge improvement in their approach to and reaction to the breakdown. This might be a time for Jones to keep his faith in Ford and work harder in getting the breakdown right. They're going to have a lot to play for, a lot of pride as well.

It was the Tricolors' first win over England in four years in the championship, and a welcome respite. In a post-Lions year, are the players simply shattered and the nature of a grueling Premiership campaign catching up with them? Meanwhile, Jones rested Farrell for two Tests in the autumn, but mostly the players continue on a relentless slog, not that the powers-that-be ever do much about it.

England had been the world's No. 2 side since June 2016, however, their second successive Six Nations defeat has dropped them to third. "In 2017, they were world-beaters and now after two games, they're no good again", Jones added with his familiar wry smile. "I wouldn't have any fears about the younger players, they're just so good at rugby that it comes so naturally to them". "Teams have ups and downs".

"Either players are going off script and not implementing the attacking game plan, or there appears to be a lack of clarity in that plan".

Ireland knock England down to third in world rankings