England won few matches and even fewer friends at their home World Cup last autumn, failing to get out of the group stages of the competition in humiliating fashion in front of expectant crowds. That disappointment was consigned to history during a remarkable 2016.
The country’s new Australian coach, Eddie Jones, faced a mountainous task to win over the public but a first Grand Slam since 2013 wasn’t a bad way to start. A decisive victory in Paris over France set-up England’s triumph as Dylan Hartley’s men put a horrendous 2015 behind them in effortless style.
Things got even better on their tour of Australia as England stunned the hosts to win the series 3-0 – a result which stands out as one of the most outstanding in the history of the national side.
From a national disappointment to a team that is, most certainly, going places, after a first win over South Africa in a decade, Jones’ side can now look to the future with a young side brimming with aggressive intent and the expectation that things can even get better.