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Friday Sep 1, 2023

Eddie Jones fires shots at the RFU as he brandishes England job as ‘difficult situation'

It’s very easy to slate a team when they’re down, and even easier to pin the blame on the coach. What’s not easy, according to Eddie Jones, is managing a side that’s been let down by their union.

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There’s been a lot said about the current England team, with criticism from pundits, fans, and former players all voicing the same opinions. The overwhelming public feeling is that their style of play is dull and the players have very little self-expression on the field.

Now, all you have to do is watch highlights of the Premiership-winning Leicester Tigers side of 2022 to understand the strategy behind Borthwick’s England, but the major difference is that the national side just isn’t achieving the same results.

England have recently dropped down to 8th place in the world rankings following their shock home loss to Fiji last weekend, with the impressive Pacific Island team deservedly leapfrogging them into 7th.

This catastrophic drop in rankings was never supposed to be in the plans for England when Borthwick took over, with their previous coach Eddie Jones previously pinned as the problem in the national setup. But ask many England fans now, and Borthwick’s approval rating may be even lower than his predecessor.

Eddie Jones, always vocal, has refrained in the past from talking in too much detail about his former employer, but with the World Cup just one week away, the Australian coach has decided to open that particular can of worms.

Speaking in an interview on BBC Radio 4, Jones has slammed the RFU for not bringing through enough quality players.

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Interviewer: “Steve Borthwick has obviously had a a tough time as the England coach have you spoken to him at all, had any contact?”

Eddie Jones: “We did initially but I think he’s getting on with himself and best to leave him there. It’s a difficult situation mate; you’ve got an aging team, anyone who knows anything about sport can see that, and then you’ve got new players coming in, some of them have come through and done really well like a Freddie Steward, others are still finding their feet like a Marcus Smith. You just look at the results of the England team over the last five years, they’re not producing quality players.

“Everyone looks at their head coach and wants to blame the head coach, but the onus on producing quality players is the RFU and that hasn’t happened. You gotta look at when you’re not bringing talent through then you gotta look at why your talent development systems not doing that.”

Interviewer: “Why do you think the talent isn’t coming through then?”

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Eddie Jones: “Because the system’s not right mate. Whenever you got talents not coming through and it was coming through then what has changed what needs to change where’s the gap and that’s the responsibility of the RFU, it’s not for me to give him answers mate.”

Fans have given mixed reactions to these statements, with many siding with the current Australian coach, whereas one fan in particular said: “Absolute rubbish. He came in and told us how a team needed the highest no. of caps to win a world cup. Now he’s boasting teams are at the end of their cycles compared to his novices? Man’s a complete liar & narcissist.”

There have been arguments to suggest that Jones, in his typical style, is looking to upset the apple cart before the tournament, others have said that it’s already fallen over.

But let’s not forget, England in 2007 entered the World Cup short of form and support and ended up as narrow losers in the final. It’s difficult to truly write of a team that’s appeared in a third of all Word Cup finals.

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