Sir Clive Woodward, the World Cup-winning coach, has called on Twickenham chiefs to ask Eddie Jones to explain why England have “gone backwards at a rate of knots” following the heavy loss to Ireland.
Woodward urged Jones to “look in the mirror” but admitted he didn’t know who was powerful enough at the Rugby Football Union to hold Jones to task about the hugely disappointing defence of their Six Nations title. “This has been coming since the World Cup final,” said Woodward on ITV. “I still don’t think there was proper debrief after England lost to South Africa.
“I just don’t know who is there at Twickenham to question Eddie because he seems to be “all-powerful”.
“After this game, he needs to be questioned. What are you doing, how can you give away 14 penalties? You need some straight answers. [Otherwise] at best, you will tread water or go backwards.
“And we are going backwards. We’re going backwards at a rate of knots at the minute.”
“Everyone got so carried away with that New Zealand [semi-final] game. A no-show in the final, it’s never really been taken apart. What actually happened?
“I just get the feeling Eddie and the team thought ‘we’re a young-ish team, we’re going to go on and win it in four years’ time’ and that is a massive mistake.
“The moment you see your game not going well, I think you’ve got to make various changes. Not to the coach but I just think the team is – not past its shelf life because there are some amazing young players – but I just don’t think the team has been refreshed.
“Eddie needs to look in the mirror and that’s the only person you’ve got to blame. You’re the leader. You look in the mirror, you don’t blame other people, the press, the media.
“You look in the mirror and say ‘okay, we are where we are, we’ve got to start again now’.
“Ireland were fantastic but make no bones about it – that [performance] did not reflect English rugby and some of the talent we’ve got out there.”
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