Eddie Jones has received the backing of one of rugby’s biggest superstars – two-time world player of the year Beauden Barrett – after escaping the sack as England coach at the end of a disastrous Six Nations campaign. The New Zealander agreed that Jones remains the best man to lead England out of the doldrums. Barrett has benefited from the former Wallabies coach’s holiday stint advising Suntory Sungoliath in the Japanese Top League.
Jones, who has been a consultant for Suntory for almost 20 years, is using annual leave for his latest trip to Japan, and star fly-half Barrett is hanging off his every word. “He’s more in the background dealing with the coaches a lot but certainly when he does offer advice to the players, it’s really good advice,” Barrett said on a call from Tokyo on the latest edition of The Breakdown.
“It’s nice to hear from someone who is not there on a daily (basis), who is outside looking over the top of things, and it is good information that he gives. With my dealings, he has been so good for me. When he does have something to tell me, they are like little pieces of gold. His understanding of the game is exceptional.”
The All Blacks playmaker has no doubt Jones can return England to its former position as one of the game’s superpowers. “They have got the talent there. I’m sure they will work it out,” he said. “They figured it out against us in the (2019 World Cup) semi-final. I guess he has copped a bit at the moment but I’m confident he will turn things around there.”
The RFU last week said Jones retained the union’s full support following a full review of England’s worst finish in 45 years. That was despite chief executive Bill Sweeney previously refusing to rule out activating a break clause in the Australian’s contract.
All Blacks stars Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara and Brodie Retallick have all offered their thoughts on the outcome of the upcoming British and Irish Lions series of South Africa. #LionsRugby https://t.co/XRjZakvxCe
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 28, 2021
The RFU allowed Jones’ trip to Japan but is demanding England’s results improve after stopping short of backing him through to the 2023 World Cup in France. The review revealed that overall feedback from the players was positive but insisted that the fifth-place Six Nations finish was well below expectations. “We were all disappointed to finish fifth in the Six Nations,” Sweeney said. “Our track record and results under Eddie meant that we, the players and our fans had much higher expectations.
“Sport is all about fine margins which is why every campaign debrief is invaluable in helping us to learn and improve. Eddie approached this review with a great deal of self-awareness and humility, allowing us to look at every aspect of the tournament to identify every small change we can make in order to improve.”
'Half my mates who have already retired say, ‘Don’t retire. Do as much as you can because it’s hard on the other side’
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 25, 2021
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