Jones wants England's 6 Nations statement of intent against France

Eddie Jones wants England to play a leading role in transforming the RBS 6 Nations into the best competition in the world by showing ambition throughout their title defence.

Jones masterminded a Grand Slam on his debut Championship last year, but noted that it was caution rather than endeavour that shaped the tactical approach taken by Europe’s heavyweights.

England open the tournament against France at Twickenham on February 4 and Jones has demanded that his team issue a statement of intent against Guy Noves’ men.

“The Six Nations is a unique competition because of the intensity of the rivalry, so if we can get the rugby at a great level then it will be the greatest tournament in the world,” Jones said.

“I thought that in the first few rounds of the Six Nations in 2016, teams were frightened to lose and they played like that. Teams played well within themselves and didn’t want to take any risks.

“I thought that in the last two rounds, the quality of rugby was so much better, but we want to change that. The last side that played well in the first round of the competition was England in 2006. I think England beat Wales 47-13.

“Before that you go back to the great side of 2001/2002/2003. In all the other games since, England have stumbled and got a close victory. We want to go out there and set a benchmark in the tournament from that first game.”