Irish rugby player Sexton brushes aside Jones talk

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says England's improvement is good for the game

England's record-equalling streak of 18 successive Test wins was brought to an end on Saturday as Ireland produced a performance of high intensity to triumph 13-9 in a bruising encounter.

Best admitted that England were worthy champions over the course of the tournament, but believes that his own team can be "proud" of their efforts after becoming the first side to inflict defeat on Jones's England. Obviously disappointed not to win this final game because we had high hopes, we had high expectations of ourselves.

"The Irish will have an ambush planned, they have 80 minutes to resurrect their season and I can guarantee you Eddie will not consider this a successful season unless they get the job done in Dublin", he said.

Jones' team threw away the chance to become only the sixth side in 107 years to win back-to-back Grand Slams. "We are focusing on preparing well, the only thing we can control is our preparation".

"To go from where we are to greatness takes another step of endeavor", coach Eddie Jones, who is unbeaten since taking charge in 2015, told reporters ahead of the clash with Ireland.

In celebration of Rugby School's 450th anniversary, 12 teams from Scotland, South Africa, Australia, Japan, Canada, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Wales and England have been invited to play on the hallowed Close.

"England are very much in a buoyant mood after winning 18 in a row but the circumstances are very similar to New Zealand last autumn and we know what happened there". "I think it's probably a bit of a slight on us to be honest, because it's not something we do". "When I said "most teams" we are not "most teams", he explained.

"There are not too many, the All Blacks are the only ones and we have been doing that since the last World Cup".

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Such is England's strength in depth that experienced scrum-half Danny Care finds himself playing second fiddle to Ben Youngs and impressive hooker Jamie George must wait his turn behind England captain Dylan Hartley. "Full credit to Ireland".

"We have got a pretty clear plan and we always do have a pretty clear plan and we will just keep trying to do that better".

"It was just great that they went out and played with confidence".

On England's performance, Hartley added: "I think it was negative upon negative".

More recently, Ireland have found it tougher going against their neighbours. Arguably some of their biggest wins, however, came against Australia, who were beaten not once, not twice or thrice, but four times.

Sexton will be without regular half-back partner Conor Murray, who has failed to recover from a shoulder injury suffered against Wales, for a match where an Ireland win could still see them finish second in the Championship.

While Read's side accounted for Italy 68-10 in Rome, they had to dig deep at the end of the tour to beat Ireland 21-9 in Dublin before scrambling to a 24-19 victory over a resurgent France in Paris.

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