England slumped to their second fifth-placed finish of the Eddie Jones’ era with their third loss of the Six Nations against Ireland in Dublin, piling on more pressure on the embattled squad and coach.
After capturing the Six Nations title and Autumn Nations Cup in 2020, 2021 has not gone to plan with a stuttering campaign that just saw wins over Italy and France. All of England’s losses came away from home as they struggled to beat rivals Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Jones has been in this situation with England before, after back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017 the side hit a roadblock in 2018 that forced changes to management and the playing squad in the England side.
Fans are sensing this is a similar fork in the road, with many ‘lost’ with the insistent selection of non-performing stars that have been afforded protection under Jones.
One fan wrote he ‘really struggles to understand Eddie Jones’, and asked if there was a better halves option in the country other than Ben Youngs and George Ford. He believed the selection of Farrell as a 12 and captain has ruined his development as a 10.
I really struggle to understand Eddie Jones and English rugby in general. Is there really no better 9 and 10 in this country? This after you ruined a potential world class number 10 by making him a terrible number 12 and captain.
Just bizarre. #IREvENG
— Carlos Nunes (@carlosnunes1984) March 20, 2021
Other fans suggested that some of Jones’ favourite players were ready to be offloaded in favour of some fresh blood, offering up a host of high profile names that have been mainstays under Jones.
Former England international David Flatman suggested that even those discarded earlier in Jones’ reign are ready to recalled on Premiership form, highlighting former squad members and Harlequins pair Mike Brown and Danny Care.
Time to transition Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Mark Wilson, Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, George Ford, Owen Farrell & Elliot Daly out of the team.
Let’s have a look at Beno Obano, Tom Dunn, Sam Simmonds, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Spencer, Joe Simmonds, Marcus Smith and Piers O’Conor.
— HandsintheRuck (@Handsintheruck1) March 20, 2021
Eddie Jones says England ended the 6 nations better than they started, can anyone explain this nonsense @EnglandRugby
— Phil Spivey ? (@phil_spivey) March 20, 2021
Never mind the whole Sam Simmonds debate, what about Danny Care and Mike Brown? Both in immense form. Brown may be better than ever.
— David Flatman (@davidflatman) March 20, 2021
Get Eddie Jones out of the England set-up and send Owen Farrell off with him. England have gone backwards since RWC2019 – no intelligence, no plan, no leadership. We need a massive reboot. @bbcrugbyunion #ireveng
— Gandybob ? (@Gandybob) March 20, 2021
— Mike Brown (@mikebrown_15) March 20, 2021
Something wrong with coaching/leadership with England-look like best team in the world when on top but crumble when under the pump especially with discipline
— Maunders (@mowbray6) March 20, 2021
England are the most indisciplined team in world rugby and have been constantly under Eddie Jones. However the team are world champions at running up and down stairs with bags of cement on their shoulders which paid dividends in the slap they got today in Dublin!! https://t.co/bem5HU8zvm
— derekross (@derekrossreal) March 20, 2021
Must be nice for fans of some nations seeing their teams developing and evolving.
Gutting to feel that Eddie Jones is still gonna be backing his favourites for the next 2 years!
— Nick Thompson (@nickster_cymru) March 21, 2021
Dreadful from Eddie Jones. Almost pathetic. No surprise to then see his side disorganised performance. Out coached …again.
— Dave Wood (@davewood5426) March 21, 2021
Eddie Jones insisting England are on the right track despite losing reverse triple crown. Yet ir the ABs lose to one of these teams its chaos. There's your difference in thinking. Basically says winning against NZ comes down to a one off performance. Not alot of hope there Eddie
— Farmboyraver (@AndyMuir22) March 20, 2021
The sentiment of the fans and pundits alike was similar to the view of Jones, who suggested in his post-match interview with ITV that change is on the way but made the puzzling claim that the side finished better than they started.
“It has been a tough one,” said Jones, “We haven’t been at our best but we finished the tournament a lot better than we started.”
Jones said that the side needs a ‘reset’ less than two years out from the World Cup, which he said is the right time.
“We need to reset the team and we will continue with that process.
“We’re going through a transition period in the team.
“This is almost a natural time for that to happen with two years before the World Cup.”
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