Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 26 January 2022

Eddie Jones confident he can turn England's inconsistent form around

Ireland were dominant against Jones’ side in Dublin yesterday.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

A WEEK AFTER delivering their best performance since the 2019 World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand, England staggered off course once again.

Having edged France in a thriller last weekend, and despite an extra day of rest, they couldn’t handle an Ireland team that hit its own peak on the final day of the Six Nations.

The frustration for Ireland was that there wasn’t championship on the line but there is always great satisfaction in beating the English, particularly after a four-game losing streak against Jones’ side. The widespread expectation yesterday was that it would be more of the same in Dublin but Andy Farrell’s side surprised everyone except themselves.

The dominance Ireland eventually enjoyed means it’s easy to forget how close England came to earning the perfect start. Iain Henderson and co. did superbly to hold Maro Itoje up from a rapid five-metre maul in the 12th minute, when conceding would have left the visitors 10-0 up and in control.

“We thought we started well, the first 20 minutes was nip and tuck and then a couple of things went well [for Ireland], and we allowed that to get to us and dropped our intensity off and Ireland took advantage of that and established a winning lead,” said Jones after his side’s 32-18 defeat.

“Tribute to my team that they are honest, they work hard, they came back in the game, fought hard when things were difficult. Congratulations to Ireland, they were too good for us on the day.”

An opening-round defeat at home to Scotland, a facile win over Italy, a controversial loss to Wales, the thrilling win over France, now this abject underperformance against Ireland. England have been a wildly mixed bag in this Six Nations.

“The main thing we are missing at the moment is consistency of performance,” said Jones.

“We showed against France we can play at a very high level and we’ve just lost that consistency, which sometimes happens a team. We are experiencing that now but we will get that back.”

Speaking before this game, Jones and his England set-up said they expected Ireland to bring a good lineout and strong kicking game to the game, which Farrell’s side did. However, England clearly didn’t expect the Keith Earls try from a brilliant lineout strike.

“We felt they’d come pretty hard at us through the front door, mate,” said Jones. “Given the previous results between the teams we knew they wanted to settle the physical stakes particularly.

“We thought they’d come hard, we thought they’d kick a lot, which they did and they did it very well, mate.

“They got their tactics right, yeah, and the scoreboard indicates that.”

Like everyone else, England remain uncertain what this summer holds in terms of Tests but it is clear that they have lots of work to do to find consistency once again.


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Jones is confident he is the right man for the job.

“Yeah, most definitely, I don’t think that’s the issue,” said the England boss when asked if he is still able to get through to his players.

“If it was the issue, I wouldn’t be the coach of the team. 

“We need to assess where we are going. I said all along we are going through transition and this is almost a natural time for that to happen, almost two years to a World Cup. Those things will happen.”

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Murray Kinsella

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