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Go back in time to the last weeks of October, 2015, when England had not qualified for the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals, an unthinkable outcome for the nation that gave us rugby. Stiff upper lips and all that did not erase the national angst of disappointment.
Quickly, the RFU sacked Stuart Lancaster, the coach. But where to find a replacement since most of the other top ranked nations had experienced men under contract? One candidate emerged, primarily because he did not coach another tier one, Six Nations or Southern Hemisphere fifteen: Eddie Jones, then head coach of Japan.
From that decision until today, Jones revamped and revitalized the England squad, which have won eight in a row via a five game undefeated run in this year’s Six Nation’s tournament (The first Grand Slam since 2003), a one off win against Wales in a summer international, and, more importantly perhaps, two straight test victories against Australia Down Under.
Here’s the remarkable tally:
- Scotland 15-9
- Italy 40-9
- Ireland 21-10
- Wales 28-21
- France 31-21
- Wales 27-13
- Australia 39-28
- Australia 23-7
England have won their first series against the Wallabies in Australia, a splendid achievement against the second ranked XV in the world. Now England, ranked eighth after the disastrous RWC, have moved into second place behind New Zealand.
A third Aussie test is yet to be played. England can make history with another victory.
But already, England’s fans are singing “Sweet Low, Sweet Chariot,” with expectations of more triumphs yet to come.