England head coach Eddie Jones admitted his side were beaten by the better team on Saturday but told the players to be proud of their achievement in winning back-to-back RBS 6 Nations titles.
Ireland defeated England 13-9 in Dublin as Jones’ side missed out on the opportunity to win back-to-back Grand Slams and also set a world record for consecutive victories.
However, he said they deserved enormous credit for their performances over the past two months.
“You have these days, Ireland played superbly and they were too good for us,” said Jones. “We weren’t good enough and the players have to accept that.
“My message to the players? ‘Be proud of yourselves, we are back-to-back RB6 Nations champions which is a fantastic achievement."
'Chuffed with the results'
Jones says he is pleased with the progress England have made in his time in charge as he also experienced defeat for the first time as head coach of the side.
“We are 14 months into a four-year project so we have been chuffed with the results,” he said. “We’ve still got a lot to do.
“We will have more setbacks before the World Cup. How many teams average over 90 per cent win level at Test level? Not many and we have been doing it since the World Cup. We are disappointed, gutted but we will fight another day.”
'I can't wait to play New Zealand'
England continue their quest to become the number one team in the world and Jones said his side would relish the opportunity to take on current incumbents New Zealand.
“This was a tough tournament for us, because we were favourites I found it much tougher,” he said. “The standard of the tournament was better and for us to win it again is a great achievement.”
He added: “New Zealand are there for the taking and we can’t wait to play them either.
“We are very keen to play them, I’ve had a discussion with Ian Ritchie (RFU CEO), and if the opportunity comes we’ll be raring to go. It’s another opportunity for us to learn.”
However, he added that negotiations on arranging the fixture still had a fair way to go before the match was confirmed.
“There are a lot of discussions still to go,” he said. “There’s a fair bit of work to do.”