Jones wants England to play with Liverpool ‘ferocity’

England trained at the Stade de France on Saturday morning
Six Nations: France v England
Venue: Stade de France, Paris Date: Sunday, 2 February Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live video, radio and text on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and the BBC Sport website and app.

Head coach Eddie Jones called on England to perform with a “ferocity” akin to that of Premier League runaway leaders Liverpool as they prepare for their Six Nations opener with France.

The World Cup runners-up face a France side seeking a revival under new coach Fabien Galthie in Paris on Sunday.

Jones promised “brutal physicality” from England, a phrase interpreted by some as a threat of violence.

“We want to have an effect on how the nation sees rugby,” Jones said.

“The number of football fans that have come up to me and said they watched England in the World Cup semi-final gives you an indication we have done that.”

Why Jones picked Furbank to face France

Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten Liverpool are 22 points clear at the top of English football’s top flight, having won 24 of their 25 games this season.

Jones added: “It’s like Liverpool now – everyone wants to watch Liverpool because they play with that ferocity. They play with that desire and they never get beaten.

“Even when they do get beaten, they haven’t been beaten. We want people to speak about us like that. You can have an effect on people’s lives.”

Heading into his fifth Six Nations championship, Jones, whose contract with England expires in 2021, also referenced Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola when commenting on his future.

“The players tell you whether you should continue or not and that’s what I’m looking at,” said Jones.

“If the players play well and the team is going well, then maybe you should continue. The only reason I’m continuing is because I think this team can improve.

“Over the next period of time I think we can become the best rugby team ever and that’s the exciting bit.”

‘England must be relentless’

In the previous two editions of the Six Nations, the team that won in Paris on the opening weekend went on to be crowned champions.

Back row Tom Curry said England “need to go at France from zero to 80 and must be relentless” on Sunday.

Sale’s 21-year-old 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year nominee, who beat Lewis Ludlam and Ben Earl to the number eight shirt after Billy Vunipola suffered a broken arm, added: “Every tackle, every carry, every clean-out has to be done with the fullest intent we have.”

England also have a new-look back three. George Furbank’s introduction at full-back has pushed Elliot Daly to the left wing, with Jonny May on the right wing.

France fly-half Romain Ntamack, 20, starts alongside 23-year-old scrum-half Antoine Dupont, with Virimi Vakatawa at outside centre, while wing Vincent Rattez replaces the injured Damian Penaud.

“France have a dangerous backline,” said May. “When they get on the front foot, the French are probably the best in the world at hitting gaps.

“They’re a difficult team to anticipate or predict because they can turn it on like that. You can sense it’s a new era for them, a fresh start. The game is a sell-out and they’ll be flying out of the blocks.”

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