Rugby Union

England after seeing off Samoa.

Five things we have learned from England’s autumn international series

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England completed a clean sweep of victories over Argentina, Australia, and Samoa from their autumn series.

The wins complete a very successful year for Eddie Jones and his men, which was topped off last night after the head coach was named coach of the year at the World Rugby awards.

After winning the Six Nations yet again, England then remained undefeated in their autumn internationals, meaning their sole defeat of the year came at the hands of Ireland, after they had already secured the Six Nations title.

Press Association Sport have examined five things that we can take away from England's wins over Argentina, Australia, and Samoa.

Eddie Jones is the answer

Eddie Jones’ ledger of 22 wins from 23 Tests is remarkable, even if the fixture list and decline of traditional heavyweights such as Australia and South Africa have proved accommodating.

The team have made a habit of digging out victory or pulling clear by scoring bursts of tries in the manner of New Zealand – a skill that adds to their self-belief.

Luck is on their side

For all the results stacking up on Jones’ watch, England have ridden their luck at times and there remain areas in need of work.

Consistency from match to match and within games must be addressed and, while some high-quality tries have been scored, the quality of the attack can fluctuate.

Dylan Hartley for captaincy

Previously described as a “foundation captain” by Jones, Dylan Hartley is now edging towards leading England into the 2019 World Cup.

England v Samoa - Old Mutual Wealth Series

Owen Farrell was seen as his eventual successor, but the playmaker’s tactless communication with the referee against Australia counts against him, and while there was no faulting the leadership of Chris Robshaw and George Ford against Samoa, a noticeable drop in on-field chat in Hartley’s absence was evident.

Combine that with the Northampton hooker’s strong form, and his claim to the role long-term has strengthened this month.

Strength in depth

Nine changes were made against Samoa, yet still England emerged conclusive 48-14 winners, underlining the depth of playing resources available to Jones.

England v Samoa - Old Mutual Wealth Series

Certain positions are still a concern – third choice at tighthead prop, number eight and scrum-half are shrouded in uncertainty – but Jones knows that, while the number of world-class players at his disposal has not increased, he will take a strong squad to Japan 2019.

Tough Six Nations awaits

England are targeting an unprecedented third successive Six Nations title, and they undoubtedly face the most challenging championship of the Jones era yet.

Scotland thumped Australia, transforming the visit to Edinburgh on February 24 into a match fraught with danger, while even at Twickenham, Ireland will prove formidable opponents.

England enter as favourites, but with it all to do.

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Topics:
England Rugby
Dylan Hartley
Australia Rugby
Six Nations
Rugby Union

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