Jones lays down England challenge after Tonga thrashing

By Sports Desk November 06, 2021

Eddie Jones challenged his ruthless England side to become the best team on the planet after they brushed aside Tonga at Twickenham.

England ran in 11 tries as they thumped the Pacific islanders by 69-3 despite the absence of captain Owen Farrell who missed the Test after a positive Covid-19 test.

Jamie George, Jonny May and Ben Youngs claimed two tries apiece while Adam Radwan, Maro Itoje, Marcus Smith, Jamie Blamire and Alex Mitchell also crossed the line.

Tonga played the final 10 minutes a man down after replacement Viliami Fine was shown a red following an elbow to Smith's head.

England have now won 16 of their last 17 Autumn Internationals (excluding the Rugby World Cup and warm-ups), a run dating back to 2014, with New Zealand (2018) the only side to beat them in that time.

Head coach Jones acknowledged there will be much sterner opponents to come – starting with Australia next weekend – but urged his England players to target the summit of world rugby.

"It is a project, we are two years from the World Cup and by the time we get to the World Cup we want to be the best team in the world," he told Amazon Prime.

"It is not what you see, it is how much we improve: this week, and then onto next week and the week after.

"We can only play against the opposition that show. I think we left four tries out there, but I liked the attitude in the second half. 

"In a game like that the crowd can go off for more pints and do a Mexican wave, we managed to keep the energy up and stopped it [the wave] about halfway round the stadium today."

England will face the Wallabies before they round off the Autumn Internationals against world champions South Africa.

Courtney Lawes captained the side in place of Farrell and the forward claimed his team-mates are already as good as any side in the world on their day – although there are still aspects to their game to improve on.

He added: "There is a little bit to work on but it is great to be back with the fans. It was nice to get a few points at the end at bring some entertainment.

"It is going to be a great game [against Australia] I believe we can go toe to toe with anyone, we have a bit to learn but I am looking forward very much to next week."

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