England have won all 21 previous fixtures against Italy, but they have had to survive some close encounters in recent years. However, Jones has dismissed the prospect of an unthinkable first defeat against the Azzurri.
Asked yesterday if it was a potential banana-skin game at the Olympic Stadium, he said: ‘No, we want to make the opposition fear us. ‘That means dominant set-piece, strangulating defence and the ability to be ruthless in attack. We want to be brutal up front so there is no Italian player left standing at the end. Then we want to be ruthless in taking opportunities — that’s what we’re aiming for. That’s how I want the players to think.’
In the past, England have been at pains to emphasise the threat posed by the Italians, but Jones (below) was far more bullish, adding: ‘If you look at the rankings, we’re a better side than Italy. We have to prove that on Sunday. We need to have the confidence to prove it.
‘I don’t want our players to be delusional but I want them to be confident. If you look at our team on paper and the Italian team on paper, we’re better and therefore we should put on a better performance.
‘In 2008, 2010 and 2012, the winning margin was five points and that’s under-performance. The last time England went to Italy they put some points on them. We’ve got to hold our nerve, be disciplined and then the last 20 minutes of the game is when we’ll get our points.’
England captain Dylan Hartley adopted a more measured outlook, saying: ‘We want to win the game, first and foremost. How we win, as captain, I don’t care.’
Yet, he reflected the increasing willingness within the camp to strike a positive tone, adding: ‘Why shouldn’t we be confident? We’re the best players in England, we’ve got great resources and great coaching. We’re a good team and we should be confident.’ – Daily Mail
Original source: Jones calls for ‘brutal’ win