England’s victory over reigning Six Nations champions Ireland shows they are an improving force, according to head coach Eddie Jones.
England beat Ireland 21-10 to maintain their unbeaten run in the championship and remain on course for a Grand Slam.
“Our performances have stepped up,” said Jones after his first match in charge of England at Twickenham.
“We probably left 10 to 15 points out there as we couldn’t always convert our attacking pressure.”
England completely dominated the visitors in the first half but went into the break with a slender 6-3 advantage before breaking loose in the second half.
Two tries in five minutes from Anthony Watson and Mike Brown put the hosts on course for victory against an Ireland team shorn of key players through injury.
With Wales next to visit Twickenham in a fortnight, talk will turn to a possible Grand Slam for the men in white and the chance to end four successive years of finishing as runners-up.
Defending champions Ireland, on the other hand, have now failed to win any of their opening three matches and are second from bottom of the table with a single point.
Jones threatens media ban
The former Australia and Japan boss had riled Ireland in the build-up by suggesting the parents of fly-half Jonathan Sexton, who has a history of concussion problems, should be concerned for his welfare.
But with Wales, whose coach Warren Gatland is renowned for pre-match mind games, England’s next opponents, Jones said: “I’m putting a self-imposed media ban on myself before the Wales game.
“I will leave that to Warren Gatland, he’s pretty good at it.”
When asked if he regretted mentioning Sexton’s parents, Jones replied: “I don’t regret anything. Why would I regret it? Ireland said he had whiplash injuries, not me.
“It’s a sideshow – it’s finished. The main event is over.”
‘Vunipola could be special’
Number eight Billy Vunipola was a destructive force, his barnstorming bursts punching holes in Ireland’s defence and creating space for his team-mates.
Of the Saracens player, Jones said: “Vunipola was great. He just loves playing rugby. He loves the team environment and loves playing for England.”
Former England captain Chris Robshaw also praised Vunipola’s impact.
“Over the last year he has really stepped his game up,” said Robshaw. “Before that he was a great player. Now he has gone to another level.
“If he keeps playing like that he is going to be pretty special.”
England must work on discipline – Hartley
England captain Dylan Hartley said England, who had two players – James Haskell and Danny Care – sent to the sin bin in the second half need to improve their discipline.
“A good side like Ireland don’t crack easy,” said the hooker.
“The boss believes we left some opportunities out there and I fully agree. I’m really happy with the result, I’m sure there’s plenty to work on, discipline being top of the list.”