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Clive Woodward rips Eddie Jones over 'pathetic macho stuff'

By Chris Jones
England coach Eddie Jones arrives for the Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday March 12, 2022. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Clive Woodward has ripped into England head coach Eddie Jones for using “pathetic macho stuff” in the build-up to the 32-15 loss to Ireland at Twickenham and believes it contributed to Charlie Ewel’s sending off after 82 seconds.

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World Cup winning coach Woodward writing in his Daily Mail column, is adamant Jones was wrong to use that kind of language in the build up to the match and is concerned England could end up finishing a lowly fifth if they lose the final Six Nations game to Slam chasing France in Paris.

Woodward wrote: “They were found wanting and that is the only way to look at this match. There is no Monday morning meeting and England are on the plane home, with Jones once again blaming a referee for his own shortcomings.

“Why? Firstly we had all this pathetic macho stuff from Jones in the build-up about how England were going to play with a physicality and aggression that Ireland hadn’t seen before. Why even go there? Of course it’s going to be tough and torrid up front, it’s England against Ireland at Twickenham for heaven’s sake. It’s a given. It’s that kind of ridiculous rhetoric that probably contributed to (Charlie) Ewels’ dangerous challenge, which was rightly punished with a red card.

“Keeping 15 players on the pitch is the No 1 requirement in knockout rugby because being able to play under pressure is coachable.Part of that flawed approach was also fuelled by Jones’ insistence that England be viewed as the underdogs.

“Eddie is what is often referred to in Australia as an ‘Aussie battler’ — he prides himself as that underdog figure who seems to think the world is against him.

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“I remember him from his playing days in Sydney, a small tough hooker with the Randwick club, who were perceived as the unfashionable team from a tough part of town, taking on my lot at Manly, who were seen as the city slickers and much more cosmopolitan, spending most of our time on the beach! That streetfighter approach can only take you so far. It can work when you are clearly the minnows but England are not little guys who constantly need winding up.

“Now comes the challenge of playing Grand Slam-chasing France in Paris. In many ways it seems like a shot to nothing but there will also be pressure. A shock win could salvage England’s season but a defeat will probably see them finish fourth or even fifth.”

Having watched the game again Woodward emphasised the margin of defeat against an impressive Ireland outfit adding: “But ultimately when you re-run the game — and the build-up — it is the mistakes that come to mind and the excellence of Ireland who, for me, would have still won with something to spare, even without Charlie Ewels’ sending off.

“Ireland beat England by a record margin and outscored them four tries to nil. I don’t recall England creating a single clear-cut try-scoring opportunity. Ireland were organised, patient and relied on their class to get the job done. Man for man their backs are on a totally different level to England’s.

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“Before the Wales match last month Eddie Jones compared England’s last three Six Nations games to the knockout stages of the World Cup — quarter-finals, semi-final and final. It is a brilliant mindset, but England must appreciate that they have just been dumped out of the World Cup as losing semi-finalists.”

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