Eddie Jones has tried to sidestep the lingering caustic fallout from last Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations home loss to Scotland, insisting the only thing England are now focused is next Saturday’s round two game versus Italy. England’s performance has been shredded in the aftermath of the shock 11-6 setback against the Scots, who hadn’t won at Twickenham since 1983.
However, rather than add fuel to the raging fire, Jones tried not to dwell any further on the damning post-mortem. Asked, for instance, if he had any thoughts on why skipper Owen Farrell chose to kick so much rather than pass to his colleagues outside him, England boss Jones said: “There is five million situations in the game, we don’t coach five million situations.
“We are always looking to improve our game and we were disappointed we didn’t improve our game. Once we get on the field the players make all the decisions. It has always been the case but the responsibility to prepare them for the game is the head coach and therefore I didn’t give them the right information for the game. Nothing different to what we spoke about after the game.
“We are always looking to improve. As I said, I take responsibility for the performance. Sometimes you don’t give the players the right information and we didn’t play the way we wanted to do. That’s about it, we’re onto the Italian game now.
“We just felt we held back a little bit. We weren’t our usual, vibrant selves, and we are just really focusing on making sure that we focus on ourselves this week and get playing the sort of rugby that we like to play, which is getting on the front foot and keeping the opposition on the back foot.
"You never atone for a game like this, this stays with you for a long time"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 6, 2021
“We’re just disappointed we didn’t improve from the French game (in December), but that is the way it is. We have moved on, we are preparing for the Italian game now… the only thing we are worrying about is the Italian game, that is the only thing we can worry about so we are focusing on that very strongly.”
Jones has made two changes to his 28-man squad, Kyle Sinckler and Mako Vunipola coming into the group after respective suspension and injury issues. Their inclusion comes at the expense of Harry Williams, who played off the bench last Saturday, and the uncapped Tom West. They have both returned to their clubs.
“They are both exceptional players,” said Jones about Sinckler and Vunipola. “Mako is the elder statesman of the side, experienced player. And Sinks was dynamic for us during the autumn. It’s good to have those two guys back but it was a great experience for Ellis (Genge) and Will (Stuart) who started on the weekend and have both benefitted from that experience.
“He [Vunipola] has been training really well, got a lot of conditioning in, and we feel he is going to be available for selection.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 9, 2021
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