Eddie Jones says he hopes his side will put into practice the lessons they learned from last year’s crushing World Cup final defeat against an inexperienced France side in Sunday’s Autumn Nations Cup final.
The Australian veteran has lifted the team from the disappointment of being beaten 32-12 by South Africa in the 2019 final to winning the Six Nations title this year and could round it off on a high at Twickenham against the French.
France inflicted England’s only defeat this year with a 24-17 victory in Paris in February but it will be a vastly different side that Jones’s men face.
French clubs decided to only release top players three times for the international tournament, forcing head coach Fabien Galthie’s hand into picking arguably something less than a France 2nd XV.
“We’re worried about our performance and how we can improve that,” said Jones at a press conference Tuesday.
“In a championship week, the final week is always the greatest learning week.
“You learn a lot about yourselves, about your team-mates, about how you operate as a team.
“We’ve had one unsuccessful final in the last 13 months so we’ve learned from that and we’d like to put our learnings into practice this week.”
Jones, whose side topped their pool with wins over Ireland, Wales and Georgia, says again it is not a case of avenging the loss to France but a learning curve for them.
“It’s not revenge as such, but it’s learning,” said Jones.
“What did we learn from the game at the Stade de France? Again, what did we learn from the World Cup final.
“How do we prepare for our final game? We’re looking forward to putting all that into practice this week.”
Jones said even such a young side as Galthie has selected should be treated with respect.
“We’re looking forward to the game, we’re so excited about it,” he said.
“We cannot control what the opposition puts out there, we’re not even worrying about it.
“You know whatever side France puts out is going to be competitive, they’re going to be tough, they’ve won the last two under-20 World Cups so they have plenty of good players and we’re not concerned about that one iota.”
The Autumn Nations Cup was created on the back of the absence of the traditional southern hemisphere giants touring due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jones believes inviting Georgia, the dominant force in European tier two competition, has been one of the standout successes.
“The more you play tier one countries the more your players are given the opportunity to benchmark themselves and they understand where the gap is between tier two and tier one,” he said.
“Those games are vital and congratulations to the organisers of this tournament for giving Georgia a chance.
“It’s given Georgia an opportunity to develop. I think it’s been a really worthwhile exercise.”