Eddie Jones says last-round Six Nations opponents Ireland have a psychological advantage over his “vulnerable” England side.
Jonathan Joseph scored a hat-trick against Scotland on Saturday
On Saturday, England secured the Six Nations title with an 18th consecutive Test win – level with New Zealand’s best – after despatching Scotland 61-21 at Twickenham.
Jonathan Joseph scored three tries and Owen Farrell kicked 26 points as England equalled the record winning margin against Scotland with the highest points haul against their neighbours.
Not since England in 1992-93 has a team claimed back-to-back clean sweeps in the championship, and Jones and his players are hungry to achieve that feat in Dublin next weekend.
“We’ve got a fantastic opportunity,” said Jones. “It [would] mean for the players they’ve achieved greatness.
“How many times in your life do you get to be great? It’s exciting. They’re in the dressing room now talking about it. They want to do it.”
Ireland, on St Patrick’s Day weekend, can be party poopers and Jones, who is unbeaten in 17 Tests in charge, says England are “vulnerable”.
“Ireland, psychologically, are in a very strong position,” said the Australian. “They’re beaten, they’re out of the tournament and they love spoiling parties.
“And the party they’d love to spoil the most is the England party. They’ve got an enormous amount of psychological advantage.
“We’re vulnerable, because we’ve won, we’re champions of the Six Nations. We’re going to have to work really hard to get ourselves right for the game. And we will.”
England led 30-7 at half-time and Jones urged his side – yet to face world champions New Zealand in his tenure – not to let up on misfiring Scotland.
He added: “[The half-time message was] that we were ruthless and behaved like the number one team in the world. The number one team in the world goes on and finishes that off.
“We’re not beating our chests and saying we’re the number one team in the world, but we aspire to be the number one team in the world.
“We’re one year into a four-year project. We’ve done reasonably well in the first year. We want to be the number one team in the world but we’re not, so we have got to get better.”
Recalled Bath centre Joseph scored twice before Anthony Watson – on after Elliot Daly sustained concussion in the second minute – touched down. Replacements Billy Vunipola and Danny Care (twice) also crossed the whitewash.
Scotland responded with scores from Gordon Reid and two from Huw Jones, but were out of the contest in the opening exchanges after England scored 10 unanswered points while hooker Fraser Brown was in the sin-bin for a second-minute tip-tackle on Daly.
England boss Jones added: “We executed some lovely plays. Some of the space created for JJ (Joseph) was absolutely outstanding and it was the work of George Ford and Owen Farrell on the inside.”
Farrell had been a fitness doubt in the lead-up but was near flawless while playing with strapping on his left thigh.
“Sometimes when you get those little injuries it helps you focus your game more. In a strange sort of way it helped Owen today,” Jones added.
Jones insisted Joseph had been omitted against Italy last time out to look at other options, and that the depth of his squad is increasing.
“To be the number one team in the world we need that depth to be very, very solid. That’s what we’re moving towards.”
Daly briefly returned to the field before going off permanently in the first half.
Jones said: “[Daly] had the test, passed the test, then we took him off. He’s got a bit of blurred vision, but he should be all right.”
Scotland head coach Vern Cotter was blunt in his assessment of his penultimate game in charge. The Kiwi will join Montepellier after next week’s clash with Italy, with Glasgow boss Gregor Townsend succeeding him.
“Everybody was aware that it was going to be a big match,” Cotter said. “It just got away from us quite quickly. We’re frustrated with the way the game unfolded.
“We always say you win together and you lose together, so we’ll take this on the chin.”
Scotland captain John Barclay added: “We didn’t play well. Credit to England. They played well, they executed plays under pressure – maybe not under enough pressure.
“It wasn’t through lack of trying, just too much error. It certainly wasn’t a good day.”