September 26, 2019 / 3:21 PM / 25 days ago

England right where they need to be at World Cup, says Jones

KOBE (Reuters) - Two games, two bonus-point wins, no major injuries — England are right where they need to be at the World Cup, coach Eddie Jones said on Thursday after his side’s seven-try win over the United States.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool C - England v United States - Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe, Japan - September 26, 2019 England head coach Eddie Jones during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

Jones had made 10 changes to the starting 15 that beat Tonga 35-3 in the Pool C opener on Sunday and while they did not fire on all cylinders against the Americans, the gulf in class was obvious, England running out 45-7 winners.

George Ford, Billy Vunipola, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ruaridh McConnochie, Lewis Ludlam and a double from Joe Cokanasiga put England out of sight before the United States claimed a consolation score through Bryce Campbell after the final gong.

While England are in a good position in Pool C, there are tougher tests ahead, said Jones, with Argentina and France their final two group opponents.

“Pleased where we are, after two games was have 10 points, conceded one try,” Jones told a news conference.

“Can we play better? Yes, we know we can. And we’ll need to play better in our next game.”

After two games against lower tier opposition, England will come up against a Pumas side fighting for survival after their opening defeat to France.

“We understand they are going to be playing for their lives,” said Jones. “They are a proud, passionate rugby country so what’s going to be important is we match their passion and we play with a fair bit of control and smarts about the game.

“They are a difficult team to beat.”

Jones also highlighted the improvements made by the lower tier countries at the World Cup with the likes of Russia and Uruguay, as well as England’s previous opponents Tonga and the United States, giving a good account of themselves.

“You’re seeing the tier two countries are much better physically prepared. We’ve played against Tonga and America now and they’ve all got big physical packs, they’re fitter than they ever have been, and it’s a great thing for the World Cup,” he said.

While the tier two countries have been loudly calling for more games against the elite teams, Jones said it was hard to satisfy their demands.

“The little brothers are never happy, they always want more,” he said.

Standoff Ford said England had used the rolling maul to good effect against the Eagles, with both Vunipola and Cowan-Dickie touching down from them.

“It’s traditionally one of England rugby’s strengths ... it’s an incredible weapon when you get it going,” he added.

“The work the lads put in to score a couple of tries off driving mauls is huge, especially in conditions like that.”

Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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