No sooner had England locked up a first Six Nations grand slam in 13 years at the weekend than coach Eddie Jones was turning his mind to their next challenge, the three Tests against Australia in June.
The tour was already shaping up as the tastiest of the mid-year international series because of the coaching battle between Jones and his Wallabies counterpart Michael Cheika, but the grand slam is sure to add a little extra spice.
Neither of the former team mates at Sydney’s Randwick club have ever been afraid to launch the odd verbal grenade when they feel it is appropriate and Jones tossed the first into the mix after England’s 31-21 triumph in Paris on Saturday.
“Three-nil, that’d be a super tour,” he laughed. “Then I’d stay in Australia for a week and gloat.”
England have had precious few victories in Australia over the years, although they did famously beat Jones’s Wallabies to win the World Cup in Sydney in 2003.
The June series presents Jones with a chance to test England’s resurgence against the team that sent the hosts tumbling out of last year’s World Cup at the group stage with a 33-13 victory at Twickenham.
“Look, it is fantastic to get a grand slam, fantastic to win the Six Nations but we want to be the number one team in the world,” Jones added in his comments to the British media.
“To do that, we have to go down to Australia, beat Australia and then we will have started getting on the road. In the next two to three years we’ll have a side to beat the All Blacks.”
Cheika was in Europe to watch the climax of the Six Nations but has been careful to lavish only praise on his former Coogee Oval club mate since Jones took the England job.
“I think we should be proud of what he’s doing. He’s formed here and brought up coaching rugby in Australia,” he said at Australia’s Super Rugby launch last month.
“He’s cut his teeth on that and now he’s in one of the most important coaching jobs in the world and he’s doing a good job.
“That doesn’t mean we’re going to go any softer on each other, we’re going to go hard like the teams are going to go hard on each other when the tim0615e comes, no doubt.
“But up until then, we should be looking on and be proud.”