Sunday, May 9

Eddie Jones escapes capture, but faces scrutiny from “outside rugby experts” | Eddie jones

Eddie Jones has escaped farewell as England’s head coach, but a carefully selected team of expert consultants will put him under further scrutiny, and the Rugby Football Union will not back him until the 2023 World Cup.

The RFU said Tuesday that, following a review of England’s disastrous Six Nations campaign, the worst since 1976, Jones retains the union’s “full support” after CEO Bill Sweeney had previously refused. to rule out the activation of a break clause in the Australian Contract.

Jones, the world’s highest-paid coach, is signed for the 2023 World Cup in France, but by announcing a series of recommendations, the RFU intends to keep Jones and England’s performances under regular review through a group. from “external rugby experts”. They will be asked to review and support the coaching strategy after each England campaign, although they have not been appointed by the RFU, which has also kept the identity of the review panel a secret, which was assisted by coaches, past and presents, and a series of presentations by Jones.

The review’s findings do not include any criticism of Jones and instead focus on the need to improve support structures amid “systemic challenges,” apparently a reference to the often strained relationship between the club and the country. , and they provide a series of excuses for England. fifth place in the Six Nations.

These include the lack of playing time for the Saracen contingent, the fact that forward coach Matt Proudfoot contracted Covid-19 on the eve of the tournament, forcing Jones to isolate himself, as well as the strict biosecurity bubble, which had a detrimental impact on “Squad Cohesion”. Key injuries were also mentioned: Jones was without Manu Tuilagi, Joe Launchbury and Sam Underhill for the entire tournament.

The deal between the RFU and the Premiership clubs was highlighted, which meant that Jones had a fixed pool of 28 players to select, as were the absences of two of his employees, Jason Ryles and Neil Craig, who were stuck in Australia. . Furthermore, England’s indiscipline in the breakdown was identified as a problem on the field.

The RFU revealed that the overall feedback from the players was positive, in line with public comments from those like Maro Itoje and Mako Vunipola, but insisted that the sixth-place Six Nations was well below expectations. Jones intentionally referenced returning to a “winning performance” at next year’s tournament, and the RFU declined to comment on what action it could take if England finished fifth again. There’s also little mention of the future for Jones’ assistants, with Wasps attacking coach Martin Gleeson heavily tied to a trade.

“We were all disappointed to finish fifth in the Six Nations,” Sweeney said. “Our track record and results under Eddie meant that we, the players and our fans had much higher expectations. Sport is all about thin margins, so each campaign report is invaluable in helping us learn and improve. Eddie approached this review with a lot of self-awareness and humility, which allowed us to analyze every aspect of the tournament to identify every little change we can make to improve. “

Other recommendations to be implemented for England’s summer games (the RFU is looking to host the US and Canada, but that remains in doubt) include more support for coaches and players with an emphasis on sports psychology, more input refereeing and a closer alignment with the Premiership. The last point is significant because Jones has repeatedly recounted how he minimizes the domestic form of the players and has fought with clubs in the past, most notably when he describes Bath owner Bruce Craig as “the Donald Trump of the rugby”. However, there will be an annual summer conference featuring England’s elite setup and Premiership clubs.

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“During the Six Nations we did not live up to our usual high standards and we recognize that,” Jones said. “The debrief was a valuable process, we all learned a lot from the experience and, most importantly, we have identified actions to allow the team to move positively towards 2023. I am looking forward to summer, which will provide a great opportunity to see more of our emerging talent and I’m confident our next team will come back stronger this fall, gearing up for a winning performance in the next Six Nations. “

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