'Review panel questioned what we were doing, they wanted answers'
Eddie Jones will make dispelling his team’s Guinness Six Nations hangover one of his priorities when his England training squad gather to begin preparations for the summer. London Irish’s 19-year-old sensation Henry Arundell is among ten uncapped players chosen in a 36-man squad who will meet in the capital for a three-day camp beginning on Sunday.
Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi have also been included after missing the entire Six Nations because of respective ankle and hamstring injuries, although a number of other senior players have been rested on this occasion. England face the Barbarians on June 19 before embarking on a three-Test tour of Australia where they must rebuild after collapsing to record another dismal Championship.
Jones retains the backing of the Rugby Football Union and has emerged from the post-tournament review process confident that minor tweaks will restore fortunes – once the recent setback has been addressed.
“You always carry the disappointment of your last game. Whether it’s the last of the season or a tournament, you carry it and so you need to chat about it,” said Jones, speaking for the first time since the review was conducted.
“You need to make sure you are looking ahead to what is going to be important. Disappointment can be a highly motivating factor. It can also be a hindrance. So it’s the way you use it. When you don’t win it’s normal to be criticised and to be under fire a little bit. I find that a normal part of coaching. I don’t think you ever get used to it, to losing. It’s not a pleasant experience. My responsibility is to win.
“But you take the positives out of the situation you have and you look ahead and see what you can do in the future, which is what we have been doing. The review was fantastic. The review panel questioned what we were doing, they wanted answers because we didn’t perform at the standard we wanted to. That makes you reflective and sometimes it might open up a point that you didn’t give enough attention to.
“That reflection process is important and having independent people is useful. I have got a pretty good understanding of what we are trying to do, who we are going to have in the team and how we want to play. We have got to make it happen.”
Another task facing Jones is to assess the potential of Arundell, the England U20s full-back who has been on his radar for eight months. His debut season as a professional has already produced plenty of material for highlights reels, but his length-of-the-field try against Toulon earlier this month has propelled his reputation to a new level.
Jones sees a similarity to Australian great Matt Giteau but is cautious about making any bold predictions before he has seen him up close. “Henry has got exceptional pace. He probably reminds me a lot of Matt Giteau in terms of his desire to attack. Not the way he plays, but his desire to attack,” Jones said.
“There could be something good about him but we don’t know what his desire is, we don’t know what his work ethic is like, we don’t know what his mental resilience is like. The test of a young player to become a good Test player is their ability to work hard, their ability to take knocks, their ability to keep resilient physically and mentally and to have that mindset to keep improving.
“From what I know of him and I have met him once very briefly, he has got good attributes. But we will only see that on the three days of training we have.”
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