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Eddie Jones faces 'brutally honest analysis' after England's Six Nations flop

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said on Tuesday no stone would be left unturned during the inquest.

Eddie Jones (file pic).
Eddie Jones (file pic).
Image: PA

THE PERFORMANCE of England coach Eddie Jones will be subjected to a “brutally honest analysis” as part of a review into the holders’ dire Six Nations performance, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Tuesday.

Jones’ men finished fifth for a second time under the former Japan coach, to leave a question over the veteran Australian’s future.

Jones, the best-paid coach in world rugby, agreed a contract extension with the RFU through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup last April. The deal, however, is understood to contain a break clause.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said on Tuesday no stone would be left unturned during the inquest.

“It needs to be a thorough, brutally honest analysis of what went wrong and why and what the issues are,” he said.

England lost to Scotland, Wales and Ireland as they equalled their fifth-place finish of 2018, though they bounced back a year after that disappointment to reach the World Cup final in Japan.

But Sweeney said: “You don’t want to look at the performance in 2018, when we came fifth, and say ‘we did that in 2018, everything’s fine’ because of where we ended up at the 2019 World Cup. No one wants to finish fifth.”

England entered the Six Nations on an eight-game winning streak, but captain Owen Farrell and others looked a shadow of themselves during a tournament notable for the team’s ill-discipline. 

Sweeney, who will be heading up the review panel, said the main issue was getting things right in the build-up to the next World Cup in France.

He and his panel colleagues, whose identities he did not reveal, must decide whether Jones is the man to reverse the slump in form.

Sweeney, asked if Jones or any of his assistants might now be sacked, replied: “I don’t think I could honestly answer that one.

“I spoke to him on Sunday. He’s as disappointed as we are. He’s hugely competitive and we will do this debriefing session together as a panel and see what we learn from it.”

Despite the disappointing tournament, Jones boasts a win ratio of 77% — the highest of any England head coach.

“I think you have to recognise and respect Eddie’s achievements since he’s been here — three Six Nations titles, a Grand Slam, a World Cup final. That’s a tremendous performance,” Sweeney said.

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“His record against southern hemisphere teams is also terrific. But he wants to understand this as much as anybody.”

He added: “I think it’s really important at this stage that we apply a bit of good old English calm if you like. We have to react. You can’t just do nothing. And we won’t do nothing.”

The RFU expect their debrief to end in mid-April.

© – AFP, 2021 

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