Eddie Jones will REMAIN as England head coach with RFU giving their ‘full support’ to Australian after inquest into dismal Six Nations campaign… with stars providing ‘supportive’ feedback about the current regime
- Eddie Jones’ position as England coach appeared under threat after Six Nations
- England finished fifth in the Six Nations, losing three out of their five matches
- The RFU held an inquest into England’s lowly finish in the showpiece tournament
- The RFU have since firmly declared their on-going backing for the Australian
Eddie Jones will continue as England head coach with the ‘full support’ of his RFU employers, following the union’s inquest into the national team’s fifth-place finish in the Six Nations.
A meeting of the RFU board on Tuesday ratified the conclusions of a report from a ‘debrief panel’ which made several recommendations, but not regime change. A statement issued from Twickenham firmly declared the on-going backing for Jones within English rugby’s corridors of power – as repeatedly forecast by Sportsmail.
Bill Sweeney, the union’s chief executive, said: ‘We were all disappointed to finish fifth in the Six Nations. Our track record and results under Eddie meant that we, the players and our fans had much higher expectations.
Eddie Jones retains the full support of the RFU despite England’s dismal Six Nations campaign
‘Sport is all about fine margins which is why every campaign debrief is invaluable. Eddie approached this review with a great deal of self-awareness and humility, allowing us to look at every aspect of the tournament to identify every small change we can make in order to improve.’
Jones added: ‘During the Six Nations we were not up to our usual high standards and we recognise that. The debrief was a valuable process, we all learned a lot from the experience and we have identified actions to enable the team to move forward positively towards (World Cup) 2023. I’m confident our next team will come back stronger this autumn building up to a winning performance in the next Six Nations.’
The review panel received ‘positive and supportive’ feedback from England players, which was used to inform their impression of the current Red Rose set-up under Jones. This echoed the public comments made by several senior players in support of Jones – especially Maro Itoje, who offered a passionate endorsement of the Australian’s credentials.
England finished fifth in the Six Nations, losing three out of their five matches this year
In attempting to explain what was described as a ‘sub-optimal’ championship campaign, the report noted the absence of Jason Ryles and Neil Craig from the management team, and the fact that Matt Proudfoot – who contracted COVID – and Jones himself had to isolate. Another conclusion was that certain players suffered from a lack of game-time, while others were mentally fatigued from having to keep playing through the end of one season straight into the start of another one.
In a more technical sense, breakdown indiscipline was identified as another key, negative factor, while it was also noted that having to maintain a ‘fixed’ squad on COVID grounds didn’t help.
The recommendations do not include any significant personnel changes, but instead focus on support systems. The RFU will seek to ensure enhanced sports psychology and leadership development, along with greater refereeing input. There will also be a drive to establish a data and analytics system in partnership with Premiership clubs.
Intriguingly, the union will also make sure of ‘external rugby experts’ for future tournament debriefs to help shape the ‘coaching strategy’ in the build-up to the next World Cup. That appears to be a compromise arrangement designed to provide qualified assessment of the regime, without the appointment of a full-time director of rugby.
Jones, who guided England to the 2019 World Cup final, will be eager to prove his critics wrong
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