Eddie Jones insists England are on a mission repair the reputation of a sport reduced to a "laughing stock" by the cancellation of their Barbarians fixture.

Thirteen Barbarians players have been charged with misconduct for breaking coronavirus protocols after a group that included former England captain Chris Robshaw went out in central London on successive nights last week.

Footage of drinking games being played at the Running Horse pub in Mayfair on one of the evenings has tarnished the game, while the Rugby Football Union has lost around £1m in lost broadcast and sponsorship revenue.

Furthermore, the inevitable cancellation of the non-cap international at Twickenham has robbed England of their warm-up for Saturday's clash with Italy in Rome, where the Guinness Six Nations title is on the line.

"We understand that rugby at the moment is a bit of a laughing stock and we all love the game," Jones said.

"No one likes to see a game called off because of a breakdown in the protocols in society at the moment. That’s what happened.

"It’s not good for rugby, but we have got an opportunity to turn that around. It’s a weight we carry and it’s a weight that we will enjoy carrying.

"We are lucky enough to play the game at the highest level and we want to make sure we put the game back where it needs to be.

"We have a great game in rugby and we don’t like to see it portrayed as something that isn’t a serious sport, as it has been."

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Jones cites the example of cricket’s ball-tampering scandal involving Australia in 2018 as an illustration of how wounds can be healed.

"History shows that sport changes quickly," said Jones, who has given Exeter second row Jonny Hill his Test debut against Italy.

"If you look at the situation with the Australian cricket team and the sandpaper, that was not a great time for cricket and it was not a great time for Australian cricket.

"Now people have forgotten that and it’s our responsibility to put on a performance so that people don’t remember what happened a couple of weeks ago."

Jones insists that the frantic pursuit of points in the second of Super Saturday’s three fixtures before the championship goes down to the wire when France host Ireland has wider significance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"It’s been a difficult time for society. People have lost their jobs and people have lost family members, so we feel absolutely privileged to have the opportunity to play top-level rugby," Jones said.

"Our responsibility is to put a smile on people’s faces and we would like to make people happy for a period of time that maybe takes away some of the pain of society at the moment.

"The players have approached this camp with a zest for the game that I have never seen before, there is a real desire to do that."

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