England can still win Six Nations, insists defiant Eddie Jones after Wales defeat

England head coach Eddie Jones.
England head coach Eddie Jones.
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Eddie Jones refused to comment in response to Wales chief Warren Gatland’s accusation that his defeated England side struggle to win “big” games.

England’s hopes of a Grand Slam are over after jubilant Wales came from behind with two tries in the final 12 minutes to win 21-13 at Cardiff on Saturday night.

It was a record 12th straight win for the hosts who are now Six Nations leaders and remain on course for the Slam themselves.

An elated Gatland said: “I’m proud of how strong we finished and we’ll enjoy that win.

“I look back on England in the last few years. When it’s really mattered, I’ve questioned whether they can win these big games. We’ve had a record of being pretty good in them.”

England did, of course, secure a Grand Slam three years ago and asked if he thought Gatland’s comments were fair, Jones gave a straight “no comment”.

But the Australian accepted his England squad, who will train against Georgia in Oxford this week, were simply not good enough on the night.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve got to say it,” he continued. “We weren’t good enough today and they were too good for us.

“There’s no shame in that. There was no lack of effort, no lack of tactics, we just weren’t good enough on the day. We’ll learn from that. Sometimes it happens. We let ourselves down.”

Jones believes England can still claim a third Championship in four years.

Wales visit Scotland on March 9 and then host champions Ireland, whose own slim title hopes remain after they narrowly avoided a shock defeat yesterday, coming from behind to win 26-16 against Italy in Rome.

England have home fixtures against Italy and Scotland and Jones said: “To me, the Six Nations is about the championship.

“Grand Slams are like when you go to buy a car and you get tinted windows; it’s an added extra. We can’t get the added extras now but we can still get the championship.”

England received a setback last night, though, when it was confirmed lock Courtney Lawes will miss the rest of the tournament.

He was excellent in Cardiff but came off with a calf injury which will keep him out for at least the next four weeks.

Co-captain Dylan Hartley, out since December 21, may not play again this season as he goes in for knee surgery tomorrow that will sideline him for three months.