Eddie Jones admitted England needed “Fergie time” to ensure their World Cup title campaign began with a bonus-point victory over Tonga.
Jones reflects on his side’s ‘tough’ 35-3 win over Tonga in their opening World Cup game in Japan
“And the message was, be patient and that’s what I enjoyed about our team – there was no sign of panic and they kept on playing good rugby and the try came.
“It might have been easier if it had come a little bit earlier, but it came and that’s a good sign.”
Jones put a positive spin on England’s struggle to dispatch opponents ranked 15th in the world and who operate on a fraction of the resources, leading to their top stars being lured away by richer nations and European clubs.
Had it not been for their centre of Samoan heritage Manu Tuilagi, who crossed twice, they might have been in trouble.
“We’re really pleased. We came here to get five points and we got five points. We’ve got no injuries and we know we can play better,” Jones said.
“Sometimes rugby is like that and the ball just doesn’t stick. We left a number of points out there. But I’m so pleased with the attitude of the players.
“That’s two Tests in a row that we haven’t conceded a try. We know we can be better and that’s the goal for the USA game.”
Tuilagi indicated that he will be England’s greatest asset at this World Cup with a powerful display that scattered Tongan tacklers time and again, putting more distance between himself and years of injury hell.
“Manu’s increasingly getting close to his best. He’s training well and is in great physical nick. He enjoys being around the boys,” Jones said.
“The boys love playing with him and for a Samoan to play against Tongan it’s a pretty special occasion. Manu will only get better as the tournament goes on.”
Tonga captain Siale Piutau started opposite Tuilagi and acknowledged that his strength was too much to handle.