England’s Lions ‘still not fit’, says Jones

England head coach Eddie Jones (Picture: Paul Harding/PA Wire).
England head coach Eddie Jones (Picture: Paul Harding/PA Wire).
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HEAD COACH Eddie Jones says his England side are only going to get better as their British Lions players are not fit yet.

England strengthened their hold on the world No 2 ranking with a 30-6 win over form team Australia.

England’s replacements – or “finishers” as Jones calls them – came to the fore as three tries in the last eight minutes completed a fifth successive Cook Cup triumph.

The question was posed whether the win came down to those “finishers” or simply impressive fitness levels.

Jones said: “A bit of both, but we trained for that. We trained to finish that last 20 hard, whether that was the starting guys or finishing guys.

“Last week we didn’t train much. Well, we trained a lot, but not for rugby, because these Lions players still aren’t fit and that’s the battle I’ve got.

“They were better (Saturday) and they will be better next week if they play. We’ve got to get more work into them.”

Ten English players on duty on Saturday were also involved in the arduous summer Lions tour to New Zealand and Jones concedes it has proved problematic.

He said: “They came back from a six-week series where they played 300 per cent more than they normally play in their post-season, then they had 10 or 11 days of pre-season at their clubs then they were playing eight or nine games on the trot. It’s tough for them, but we have to try to get them ready for Test rugby.”

Meanwhile, Jones believes England have found their Alexis Sanchez in Danny Care after the Harlequins scrum-half plotted Australia’s downfall.

A finely-poised showdown saw the hosts lead only 13-6 until Yorkshireman Care’s arrival off the bench in the final eight minutes ignited a devastating flurry of tries that sealed a record 30-6 victory.

“He was like a little Sanchez playing for Arsenal, here there and everywhere looking for opportunities. He was very creative,” said Jones.