The initial response among online England fans to the RFU decision to back Eddie Jones after their disappointing Guinness Six Nations has not been positive. After the RFU shared details of their post-tournament debrief on Tuesday, fans took to social media in droves to show their disapproval at the decision to support the Australian.
While Twitter has never been a platform for fence-sitting, it is clear to see which side of the fence the majority of online fans are on. The main area of contention for most seems to be that too many out-of-form players were consistently playing in during England’s fifth-place campaign, with accusations that Jones has his favourites who are more or less embedded in his squad.
The RFU addressed this issue to an extent in their Jones debrief, listing “player preparation and availability” as one of the specific factors that led to England’s dismal defence of their 2020 Six Nations title. It said: “Player preparation and availability – several players did not have enough game time going into the Six Nations.
“Conversely, a wider group were fatigued as a result of being the only country to have back-to-back seasons; resulting in players having no mental break from one season to the next. In addition, a handful of notable players were unavailable.”
However, those explanations were not enough for many. While t helps explain why some Saracens players (currently in the Greene King IPA Championship) were rusty, and even why some Gallagher Premiership players may have been underperforming as well, it didn’t explain why some in-form players across England were not picked.
Disastrous fifth-place Six Nations finish hasn't resulted in the England sack for Eddie Jones https://t.co/26UcKQu4WB
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 20, 2021
Sam Simmonds’ name unsurprisingly cropped up online, as the Exeter Chiefs No8 became the poster boy for the squadron of in-form club players who were overlooked. That does come down to the personal preference of Jones, though, and the RFU did mention that “fixed squads prevented players coming in and out during the campaign as they would normally”.
Jones did suggest that change is afoot, which may please some disgruntled fans. He said: “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 most importantly we have identified actions to enable the team to move forward positively towards 2023.
“I’m looking forward to the summer tour which will provide a great opportunity to see more of our emerging talent and I’m confident our next team will come back stronger this autumn building up to a winning performance in the next Six Nations.”
“Fine margins”. Glad that review was comprehensive then. We were completely outplayed and have been poor for a while now.
— Mike Baker (@salesandsport) April 20, 2021
Come on who other than EJ has overall responsibility for:
• Player preparation
• Breakdown indiscipline
• Covid – the necessary stringent protocols, in some cases greater than other Unions.
• Squad transition
— Graeme (@notthatGraeme) April 20, 2021
Same old Sarries team nothing changes, must be the only coach that plays on reputation rather than form, take Sam Simmons for instance….. what a load of bull
— roger nicholls (@exwafu) April 20, 2021
I wonder why picking players actually in form and playing regularly wasn’t a recommendation?
— Ed Barrett (@EdBarrett1710) April 20, 2021
Strange debrief that then. Abject failure and they’ve accepted this to be acceptable for all of the money he is paid to not have this happen
— Jamie Pemberton (@pembyfly) April 20, 2021
“We’ll learn/take lessons/grow* from this, bla bla bla”
*delete as applicableADVERTISEMENT
— Alister FULTON (@baldybeardyguy) April 20, 2021
If Eddie is willing to evolve and pick players based on form it’s good news. If he isn’t and continues to pick the same old names regardless of how well they’re playing its another year wasted before the next World Cup. #England #Englandrugby #RFU
— Steve (@Romanez) April 20, 2021
All the Covid and player loading issues were the same for other players/nations. Why was it a surprise that players were not match fit – surely training performance data would have shown that – was this data ignored?
— Michael Green (@mikegreen_539) April 20, 2021
I hope you told him that there are other great players in the Premiership and it is time to ditch his favourites.
— MEG ???? (@MEGpersistence) April 20, 2021
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