England head coach Eddie Jones has hit back at comments made by his predecessor, Sir Clive Woodward, who claimed England’s style of play is ‘boring’ and that spectators are losing interest.
Woodward hasn’t been the only person to call out Northern Hemisphere rugby as lacking in recent months – practically the whole sport has been bemoaning the kick heavy tactics used during the Autumn Nations Cup, which barring a few rare incidents, failed to ignite as a spectacle.
England in particular, who have kicked and tackled teams into submission, have drawn fire for their dull style of play.
“Way too many [matches] are complete yawns, perversely punctuated by the occasional thrilling moment which makes you wonder what on earth was going on in the other 79 minutes,” wrote Woodward in his Daily Mail column. “For the first time I can remember, teams with prime possession no longer want the ball. Teams with sensational runners and counter-attackers have virtually given up doing what they do best.
“People don’t pay good money to watch this nonsense and if we were allowed crowds at games they would be making the teams and players aware. Ultimately, the consumer is king and rugby needs to remember that.”
Jones has now hit back on Sky Sports, claiming Woodward’s comments were disrespectful to the players.
“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. I don’t think rugby is ever boring. I think rugby is such a fantastic sport and to say that is disrespectful to the players and disrespectful to the sport.
“The game’s played in a number of different ways and can be won in a number of different ways, and I remember playing against England when we were mauled for 50 yards.
'Kicking has a massive part to play in the game and gets a bad rap when it is poor without a plan, a clear principle and philosophy.'@nick10evans talks to @chrisjonespress ??? #GLOvHARhttps://t.co/0q1TlfC6A2
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 4, 2020
“I’m sure that wasn’t boring at that time.”
Jones also says that the return of fans to Twickenham was ‘great for the sport’.
“I think it’s great for the sport and that everyone can see we’re moving back to normality.”
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