TWICKENHAM, London - Despite losing to Ireland at Twickenham in their final match, England head coach Eddie Jones said it had been an "enormously beneficial" Six Nations campaign.
However, Jones did concede it was a "disappointing tournament" as the defending champions suffered three successive defeats following opening with wins over Italy and Wales.
England slumped to their worst ever Six Nations finish after falling 24-15 to Ireland at Twickenham, leaving the Irish to celebrate a well-deserved Grand Slam. But Jones says this campaign will benefit England in the long term and is adamant they have taken strides forward off the pitch.
Jones hailed Ireland as "super, mate. [They are a] good, tough side, well coached, play to their strengths." But this campaign has left Jones looking for answers to a number of issues with a leadership void high up on the list alongside problems around their discipline, the breakdown and their power vacuum.
"We have these runs and I have coached long enough and sometimes you get out of it quick and other times longer," Jones said. "At the moment [the losing streak] is at three games; it's not nice but it is part of the process of being a better team and we learnt a lot about the team in this championship and how we need to develop our game which is important. So as disappointing as it is, it is part of being a better team."
Jones will pick apart the bones of this championship between now and their three-Test tour of South Africa in June but says they have grown away from the field.
"We had to develop the internal part and how our team must take more responsibility and that is all part of the process and we have made some good development in those areas. Sometimes it doesn't look like that and I understand that because when you add something to a team that can be a wait for a while and at the moment it is a bit of a wait but it is an important wait and you need that going forward to be a better team.
"We knew that even though we had won 23 out of 25 we weren't good enough to get where we want to get and we knew we had to change the team and sometimes that hurts."
Jones confirmed he requested a larger dead ball area for Saturday's Test, one which helped Jacob Stockdale score Ireland's third try as he dotted it down with just centimetres to spare at the end of the first half. Though it aided Stockdale's effort, Jones shut down any notion the decision to change the field dimensions "backfired" for England.
One blow which will affect Jones' plans for South Africa was the first-half injury to Anthony Watson. The Bath fullback limped off with an Achilles problem and Jones said it was "not good".
And so to Monday where Jones will watch back their championship, assess short-term measures which need to be corrected and more long-term plans around potentially augmenting his coaching staff or which players may need longer to adjust to the pace of Test rugby. Overall, though, he insists there is no need to panic.
"There is nothing that stands out that we massively need to fix," Jones said. "There are a number of things that are ongoing. We have spoken about leadership density -- having more leaders on the field -- and that is something that is a slow burner, you have got to build that, you have got to keep working on it. That is really important for us.
"We have had a slight fix in the breakdown this week but Ireland didn't contest as many possibly as the two previous teams did. You can fix that and there is always selection."