The psychological damage inflicted on England’s rugby players due to the botched 2015 Rugby World Cup came back to haunt Eddie Jones’ crop on the verge of the 2019 tournament.

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Jones was speaking with Conor O’Shea and cricket coach Justin Langer on the Eddie Jones Coaching Podcast. England folded in the second half against Scotland in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations with Scotland, conceding 38 unanswered points, having at one stage led 31 – 0. Just six months out from the Rugby World Cup in Japan, it would prove a turning point for Jones’ team.

“I made a mistake, and it only came out three years later in a big game, when the cracks of 2015 came out,” Jones told the Eddie Jones Coaching Podcast. “We had to get another south Australian sports psyche [psychologist] in. He came in and we had a series of meetings before the World Cup. As to the timing, it seemed bizarre but it was in fact a really good time to bring the team forward.”

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Jones says that mental stressers within team environments – like the trauma of the 2015 flop – must be addressed, especially in younger rugby players who have more on their shoulders than any generation before them.

“If I had my time again, I would have probably done it earlier.”

“You’ve always got to deal with those issues. More so today. I was talking to someone this morning. I think younger players now have a lot more pressure on them.

“There’s a lot more media pressure on them and they think they carry around a lot more anxiety, then we think they do.

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“The older generation tend to think they’re alright but you need to address those issues.”

“Find people who are better than you and find people that the players relate to.

“Will Carling is from the 1990s, but from one of the most successful England side. He brings some certain values, but maybe some of those values have been lost a bit and he’s helping the players learn some of those good values.

“Then we bring Haskell in. He’s great because he brings a lot of energy and he’s funny. Those guys all help, so always look for something a bit different.”

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