Vunipola backed to only get better

Date published: February 27 2016

A second Man of the Match award for Billy Vunipola in this year's Six Nations was followed by Eddie Jones saying he can only get better.

Vunipola finished with 18 carries for 96 metres at Twickenham as he constantly troubled Ireland's defence with a number of tackle-busting runs.

"Billy’s only going to get better. He’s just a kid learning how to play the game and he was very good today. You can see he’s enjoying it, the environment, playing with the boys," Jones explained.

"He’s not a great talker but he leads by example which is what we want the vice-captains to do. All three of them all led with intent and with their body today."

England's squandering of chances in the first half was something Jones admitted would have to be rectified moving forward, despite the base being there for more tries in the future.

"They’re the champions so we expected a pretty tough game. We probably left 10-15 points out there. I thought the structure of our attack was excellent but our finishing wasn’t. Get the structure right and the finishing will come," Jones added.

"We just needed to get a few things right technically in our attack. Our breakdown was good at times but they’d get a foot or hand in there to slow it down and we needed to be a little bit more accurate in that area.

"Second half we defended for half of it with 14 men, which was a great experience for us. Haskell’s yellow card was 50-50 and Danny Care’s was 100 percent as he lay on him, but they made a line break and that happens all the time.

One of his vice-captains might have been Man of the Match but another in Mike Brown looked in trouble in the second half after his boot connected with the face of Conor Murray.

Jones quickly quashed any suggestion that Brown had been reckless, saying the law allowed him to attempt to play the ball.

Jones responded: "The referee adjudicated on it and it was fair. If the ball is on the ground you are allowed to kick it aren’t you? 

"Was the ball on the ground? If it wasn’t on the ground… where was it? Had he been tackled? Yes. Then you can play the ball mate. Are you allowed to play the ball? You tell me what the laws are…

"Are you allowed to play the ball if it is on the ground? The referee has adjudicated on it. If I say something about the referee then the headlines are going to be ‘Jones complains about the referee’. So I’m not going to give an opinion mate."