By Jo Bertram, O2 Executive Sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion This week I’m getting ready…Read more
England's Grand Slam is just the start
When referee Nigel Owens blew his final whistle at the Stade de France, time stood still for that split second. George Kruis dropped to his knees, Mike Brown literally jumped to touch the sky and the rest of the players let out a huge sigh of relief and collective joy. They had done it; they had come back from the brink and won The 2016 RBS 6 Nations Triple Crown and Grand Slam and in style. The celebrations had gone on into the early hours and they deserved to enjoy every second of it.
Credit has to go to Eddie Jones, who let’s not forget has only been England Head Coach for only four months. A number of improvements have been made during Jones’ tenure so far but he admits the toughest part of the job has been to change the mind-set of the squad in terms of the way they approach games. You could see this during the RBS 6 Nations. They always look positive, stepped up and battled on and take the game to the opposition. England is a new animal now, and with a first Grand Slam in 13 years in the cabinet the focus immediately switches on to the summer tour of Australia. With which Jones is already targeting a dominating display. He said:
“Everyone is ecstatic to be the most dominant team in Europe, that’s a nice first step but it’s only a small step as we’ve got much larger ones to go and that starts with the Australian tour.”
It’s all been a collective effort. The fans have to take a massive pat on the back. They have travelled around Europe the last 6 weeks and being England’s 16th man each game. Just to see them #WearTheRose with pride and passion has been great to see.
Our very own Rose Army once again, have been world class throughout. The support they’ve given the team has been superb. So much so we wanted to hear their thoughts on England’s RBS 6 Nations campaign. Here are the thoughts of Army members Dan Clarke and Alexis Saffine.
Favourite Game: Was England V France last year it was the first England game that my wife came to and now there is no stopping her.
Player of the 6 Nations: Has to be Dylan Hartley many doubted his appointment as Captain with his history but he proved all the doubters wrong and led England with class and honour.
Rising Star: Maro Itoje he has come through the ranks of England rugby and showed he has the right to be on the top stage and he has the potential to be a future England captain
My Highlight : The final whistle against France is the top of my highlights to win our first grand slam in 13 years and to see what it meant to the players and fans alike really showed how far the squad have come since last year.
Favourite Game: Italy v England. I had the pleasure of watching this live in Rome. The stadium and atmosphere were fantastic and the Italian fans were so friendly.
Player of the 6 Nations : Dylan Hartley. I was amongst those who were surprised by Eddie’s appointment of Dylan as captain given his track record. He proved to be an outstanding captain leading by example both on and off the pitch and has certainly proved his doubters wrong.
Rising Star: It’s got to be Maro Itojo. He has a very mature set in his shoulders and he really impressed me with his line out steals in the French and the work he does in the breakdown. I see him as a future England captain.
My Highlight: Has to the win over Wales last weekend. There is always the rivalry between England and Wales and following the agonising defeat last year, to return to winning ways and the team lifting The Triple Crown made me feel so proud to be supporting England and to #WearTheRose. We are back and I’m so happy to be part of O2’s Rose Army.
It’s time for us to sign off what has been a very emotional and memorable RBS 6 Nations. A massive thank you to every single one of you for your fantastic #WearTheRose support. You’ve done us proud.