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England's verdict on how new assistants fared in first Six Nations

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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Eddie Jones has given his seal of approval to the three assistant coaches that worked for the first time under him with England in the Guinness Six Nations. Richard Cockerill (forwards), Anthony Seibold (defence) and Martin Gleeson (attack) were all recruited by the RFU ahead of the 2021/22 international season and even though the championship has ended with just two wins in five matches, the new staff have been given the Australian’s full support.

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Last season’s two-from-five return in the Six Nations prompted the backroom clearout featuring the exits of John Mitchell, Simon Amor and Jason Ryles and while there has been no change in the results a year later, Jones claimed that the overhaul has invigorated his players and that the recent adversity will benefit his staff in the long run.

It has been really refreshing for the players to bring the new staff in and they have done a fantastic job,” claimed Jones about the impact of Cockerill, Seibold and Gleeson in a difficult Six Nations for England. 

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“But like anyone who goes into a job, there are certain experiences you have to have to learn from, you can’t just talk about them to coach in the Six Nations which I think is probably the most intense tournament in the world. 

“It is harder to coach in the Six Nations than it is in the World Cup and particularly for England because we are like a transit route, we have got players coming in and out, we have got players here for two days and then they leave. So it is a difficult balancing act to get the cohesion of the team right and that has been a great experience for those coaches.”

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Jones claimed in his Six Nations debrief with the media that England are only “three per cent off” from being the team the head coach wants them to be and he is tipping his staff to come up with the goods in solving those areas in need of improvement. 

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“International coaching, particularly the Six Nations level, is intense. You don’t get much time to get your breath and they will be much better coaches for this and their focus now is to find better ways of coaching their areas. Where they can find that three per cent development in their games, whether it be in attack or defence or lineout, that is the opportunity for them.”

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