England are right where they need to be at the Rugby World Cup, coach Eddie Jones said on Thursday after his side’s seven-try win over the USA.
Jones had made 10 changes to the starting XV that beat Tonga 35-3 in the Pool C opener on Sunday and while they did not fire on all cylinders against the Americans, the gulf in class was obvious, England running out eventual 45-7 winners.
George Ford, Billy Vunipola, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ruaridh McConnochie, Lewis Ludlam and a double from Joe Cokanasiga put England out of sight before the United States claimed a consolation score through Bryce Campbell after the final gong.
While England are in a good position in Pool C, there are tougher tests ahead, with Argentina and France their final two group opponents, which is something Jones acknowledges.
“We’re pleased where we are, after two games we have 10 points, conceded one try,” Jones told a news conference.
“Can we play better? Yes, we know we can. And we’ll need to play better in our next game.
“The conditions were difficult. It was 27 degrees and 80 per cent humidity. You could feel it just by sitting in the grand stand, you had sweat dripping off you.
“The ball was hard to handle and there was maybe a period in the first half when we got seduced by the space and tried to play more of a passing game.”
After two games against lower-tier opposition, England will come up against a Pumas side fighting for survival after their opening defeat to France.
“We understand they are going to be playing for their lives,” said Jones. “They are a proud, passionate rugby country so what’s going to be important is we match their passion and we play with a fair bit of control and smarts about the game.
“They are a difficult team to beat.”
Jones also highlighted the improvements made by the lower-tier countries at the World Cup with Russia and Uruguay, as well as England’s previous opponents Tonga and the United States, giving a good account of themselves.
“You’re seeing the Tier 2 countries are much better physically prepared. We’ve played against Tonga and America now and they’ve all got big physical packs, they’re fitter than they ever have been, and it’s a great thing for the World Cup,” he said.
While the Tier 2 countries have been loudly calling for more games against the elite teams, Jones said it was hard to satisfy their demands.
“The little brothers are never happy, they always want more,” he said.