Eddie Jones backed by RFU bosses but faces new scrutiny after Six Nations flop
Eddie Jones has survived a review into England’s Six Nations flop but told his performance will be monitored by ‘external experts’ from now on.
Rugby Football Union boss Bill Sweeney had warned that “no stone would be left unturned” in determining the cause of England’s fifth place finish – the nation’s worst campaign since 1976.
A month on the verdict of an unnamed review panel was that Jones retained the “full support” of his employers despite England losing to every other home nation.
However, Twickenham chiefs revealed that a group of former Red Rose coaches and players would be asked to bolster the process of trying to make England great again.
“The RFU will ensure external rugby experts inform all future debriefs to provide additional insight and support for the head coach,” said a spokesperson, who refused to name names.
“These external advisors will also be utilised after each campaign to provide regular reviews and support for the coaching strategy for future Six Nations campaigns and in the build-up to Rugby World Cup 2023.”
The move follows chastening defeats by Scotland, Wales and Ireland, after which Sir Clive Woodward complained: “I just don’t know who is there at Twickenham to question Eddie because he seems to be ‘all-powerful’.”
The governing body, it would appear, has taken note.
Jones described the debrief as a “valuable process”, conceding England had not been “up to our usual high standards”.
The finger of blame was pointed at the team's breakdown technique and lower-body strength, the Covid-19 pandemic and players either being under or over cooked.
At everything, it seems, other than directly at the world's highest paid international coach and his assistants..
“We all learned a lot from the experience,” Jones said. “Most importantly we have identified actions to enable the team to move forward positively towards 2023.”
Sweeney praised the Australian for approaching the review with a “great deal of self-awareness and humility” and for allowing the union to “look at every aspect of the tournament to identify every small change we can make in order to improve”.
He pledged that several recommendations would be implemented before England’s next game.
Among these are RFU plans to "deepen its alignment" with England's professional clubs "to find common ground and goals for the English game going forward”.
There will also be additional refereeing input in a bid to rectify England's dreadful ill-discipline.
Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones has extended his contract with Ospreys and the Welsh Rugby Union to take him through to the end of next season.
Saracens boss Mark McCall and his entire coaching team have signed new deals to remain at the club until at least 2025.
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