An RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam, a three-Test tour whitewash of Australia down under, and a perfect Old Mutual Wealth Series, ending with victory over the Wallabies at a celebratory Twickenham Stadium, what better end to 2016 could England fans have wished for?
England sealed the Old Mutual Wealth Series with a 37-21 win over Australia, their 13 victories bringing the first unbeaten calendar year since the game went professional and Will Carling’s squad played six won, six in 1992 . The victory also stretched their unbeaten run to a record-equalling 14 games, 13 under head coach Eddie Jones.
Despite a slow start in which they conceded a try through Sefa Naivalu, England showed great resolve with tries from Jonathan Joseph, Marland Yarde and Ben Youngs. Owen Farrell contributed 15 points and, despite Sekope Kapu’s try 15-minutes from time, Australia lost Dane Haylett-Petty to the bin, giving England a man advantage for the rest of the game. They capitalised with Joseph crossing for his second try and George Ford’s conversion stretched the lead to 16 points.
Scrum half, Ben Youngs earned his 65th cap and the man of the match award with what Eddie Jones described as a “masterful display ”.
While fans are rooting for a 2002/03 record breaking encounter against France when England take them on in the RBS 6 Nations opener at the Home of England Rugby, Jones insisted: “The 2003 side is a much better side than we are. They could win any number of ways and had a very, very consistent scrum and lineout, which we don’t have, but we are getting there.
“We’ve got until the 2 November, 2019, to get ready for the Rugby World Cup and that’s what we are aiming at.”