England boss Eddie Jones was one defeat away from the dole – now he’s one win from being a legend

EDDIE JONES was one defeat from the dole queue — now he is one win away from legendary status again.

Welcome to the boom and bust world of England’s Aussie coach.

 England head into the Six Nations - and next year's World Cup - with one of the strongest squads Eddie Jones has ever assembled

PA:Press Association
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England head into the Six Nations – and next year's World Cup – with one of the strongest squads Eddie Jones has ever assembled

In 69 days’ time, the Red Rose should run out in Ireland with the strongest squad Jones has assembled — just eight months after he lost a series, and almost his job, against South Africa.

Having masterminded Japan’s famous World Cup shock win over the Springboks in 2015, Jones is not shy of producing miracles.

Three wins and a defeat to the All Blacks this autumn was quite an achievement, considering he was working with the weakest and most-inexperienced squad of his three-year reign.

Like a wily old prospector, Jones struck gold. He also made some of his own luck by finally bowing to pressure and sticking Owen Farrell in the No 10 shirt.

 How England could look when they line up against Ireland in the Six Nations in February

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How England could look when they line up against Ireland in the Six Nations in February

But the rest came together. Rookies Ben Moon and Mark Wilson were unearthed in the pack and Joe Cokanasiga on the wing — with Manu Tuilagi finally getting valuable game time after his injury shock before the Springboks win.

Ireland will still feel they have England's number after their second demolition of the All Blacks in as many years put them on a new high.

And Wales have gone under the radar, blooding newcomers with their first autumn clean-sweep.

Scotland rolled the dice with selection and it did not come off with their early year hype fizzling out.

 Eddie Jones was close to the sack just eight months ago after England lost their series in South Africa

AP:Associated Press
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Eddie Jones was close to the sack just eight months ago after England lost their series in South Africa

France were shocked by Fiji and Italy humbled by New Zealand elsewhere.

So the Six Nations looks to be a three-horse race and Jones is keeping his feet on the ground — despite the prospect of Lions tight-heads Kyle Sinckler and Tadhg Furlong going head-to-head in that Aviva opener on February 2.

Sinckler carried like a tank in the Wallabies whacking but his coach is most excited about the boring bits.

Jones said: “If someone drives a taxi, what have they got to be able to do? Get you from A to B safely.

 Owen Farrell sprints in for a try in a brilliant win

EPA
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Owen Farrell sprints in for a try in a brilliant win

“If you play tight-head prop, you have to be able to scrum. Then you can get a nice radio or a nice seat warmer in the car, all those things count.

“The main thing is that Kyle is scrummaging and that’s what he did brilliantly.

“So all those other things are add-ons, which are fantastic. We got him out of Harlequins and he was playing five or ten minutes off the bench.

“He came into Test rugby, it was all new for him. He had a meteoric rise, he went to the Lions.

“You just have to keep working with those players, keep finding a way to get them better, keep finding the right mentality and he is doing that. He wants to be the best tight-head in the world.”

The mental scars of 2018’s fifth-placed Six Nations and the Springboks smashings are gone, though one decent autumn does not make up for a whole year.

 Kyle Sinckler came in for special praise from the England boss

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Kyle Sinckler came in for special praise from the England boss

However, it does prove that if England were to crash and burn in the spring, that hangover will not linger until the World Cup kicks off against Tonga in Sapporo on September 22.

Hopefully by then, England will still have wrecking-ball Tuilagi fit after he stepped off the bench against the Wallabies for his first Test in two-plus years.

Tuilagi, though winning his 27th cap, said: “I was nervous throughout.

“We had a massive session on Wednesday and I got through that. It was contact and a fast game. I knew if I got through that I would be all right for the game — and, thank God, I got through it.

“It has been a long time so I enjoyed every minute.

“It is an amazing atmosphere. It felt like it was my first cap. Just to get back out there. I had forgotten what it was like but I loved it.”

And England have loved the autumn. No one saw that coming.

EDDIE JONES was one defeat from the dole queue — now he is one win away from legendary status again.