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England celebrations on hold before grand slam decider
March 11, 2017 / 6:21 PM / 9 months ago

England celebrations on hold before grand slam decider

LONDON (Reuters) - England’s second straight Six Nations title secured after a 61-21 thrashing of Scotland, coach Eddie Jones said there would be “a few quiet beers” to celebrate before attention quickly turns to next week’s grand slam trip to Dublin.

Britain Rugby Union - England v Scotland - Six Nations Championship - Twickenham Stadium, London - 11/3/17 England's Dylan Hartley celebrates with the Calcutta Cup Reuters / Stefan Wermuth Livepic

The Calcutta Cup will no doubt be tucked away safely in a Twickenham strong room - where it has spent most of the last few decades - and England’s ultra-professional players will replace lost fluids with scientifically researched electrolyte drinks.

It is a stark contrast to that famous night almost 30 years ago when post-match refuelling meant something very different as players from both sides hit the town in Edinburgh and ended up in hot water after manhandling the famous old silver trophy the length of a drunken Princes Street pub crawl.

But in the age of professionalism, everything is about the next game - which is perfectly understandable when that game is a grand slam decider.

“It’s important to acknowledge your achievements,” Jones said after his side ran in seven tries to notch their highest-ever score against the Scots and match New Zealand’s tier one record of 18 consecutive wins.

“We’ll have a couple of quiet drinks tonight and enjoy that and attention then turns to Ireland and that’s going to be difficult.”

Britain Rugby Union - England v Scotland - Six Nations Championship - Twickenham Stadium, London - 11/3/17 Scotland's Huw Jones looks dejected after the match Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne Livepic

England will travel to Dublin seeking back-to-back grand slams and if they perform as they did on Saturday it is difficult to see them failing to achieve it despite their record of only three wins from their last nine visits.

“We’ve been ready to play well for a couple of weeks,” Jones said after watching his side hit the ground running with a third-minute try for Jonathan Joseph and rarely look back.

Slideshow (4 Images)

“Today we got a chance to play rugby and I was really pleased with their efforts. Next week is about the grand slam and we are going to focus very closely on that.”

England were superb on Saturday, with silky centre Joseph leading the way with a brilliant hat-trick of tries.

But while his speed and sidesteps caught the eye, most of England’s seven scores were either from first-phase ball after a dominant lineout or through the heft of their scrum and maul.

“Today we had a power advantage, Scotland struggled with that and it’s an advantage we have over other teams,” said Jones, who was able to throw in world class forwards like Billy and Mako Vunipola from the bench plus replacement scrumhalf Danny Care who took the score into the 60s with two late tries.

“Good teams keep improving. We’ve said we want to be the number one team and we’re not at the moment so we’ve got to get better.”

Reporting by Mitch Phillips; Editing by Ken Ferris

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