Eddie Jones to Saracens players: Get ready to play for England
Last Updated: 20/01/20 5:27pm
Eddie Jones has urged the Saracens players in his England squad to put aside their club's troubles and "get ready to play for England" in next weekend's Six Nations opener.
Seven players from the Premiership and European champions are present in England's 34-man squad for the Six Nations and they will head to a pre-tournament training camp in Portugal with their club futures shrouded in uncertainty.
Speaking for the first time since it was announced Saracens would be relegated from the Premiership for breaching the salary cap, Jones had a simple message for his stars from Allianz Park.
Jones said: "Get ready to play against France and then get ready to play against whoever we play against after France. All they have got to do is come in and have a great excitement about playing for England.
"All of that business, that will get sorted out. It's important but the only important thing for those boys now is to get ready to play for England."
'We want to be greatest-ever rugby team'
Jones says his goal is not just to make England the best team in the world, but the best team in the history of the sport.
"We set out four years ago to be the best team in the world, we missed out by a World Cup final - came second - which was disappointing but we've got another opportunity to become the best team in the world.
"We also want to be the greatest team that the game of rugby has ever seen. We want to set ourselves high, we want to really see how we can extend ourselves.
"That's why we've brought in a number of young players to see how far this team can go, and it's still a young team, that's the fantastic thing about it.
"My aim is to make England the greatest rugby team the world has ever seen, that's my mindset."
When asked he wanted to achieve that aim by the end of his current two-year contract, Jones replied: "I want to do it next weekend."
'The tide will turn for Billy Vunipola'
Jack Nowell has joined Billy Vunipola on the injured list for the Six Nations after Jones revealed the Chiefs winger is to undergo surgery.
Nowell finished Exeter's European match against La Rochelle on Saturday but faces an operation to repair a damaged ankle that could prevent him from playing any part in the Championship.
It is the second hammer blow on a morning of bad news for England who also learned that Vunipola sustained a broken arm while on Champions Cup duty for Saracens on Sunday.
"Jack is injured and is going to have an operation and we'll see when he gets back," said Jones of the Lions wing whose career has been plagued by injury.
It is the fourth time Vunipola has sustained a fracture to one of his arms, robbing England of one of their most potent carriers for the Six Nations.
"It's massively disappointing for him but these things happen. There was a rugby league great, Mal Meninga, who broke his arm four times in two years," Jones said.
"Post that two years he then played six or seven years, won grand finals and won Test matches for the Kangaroos.
"The tide will turn for Billy. At the moment it's tough and he probably feels the whole world is against him, but he'll be all right."