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'Soul-destroying': Former England player takes to social media to blast current team

By Sam Smith
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Owen Farrell of England looks on after the Autumn International match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on November 26, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Former World Cup-winning England centre Will Greenwood has shared an honest, emotional message on social media with regard to the state of the current national side.

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England slumped to a 27-13 loss to South Africa at Twickenham to end their Autumn campaign which Greenwood called the most ‘soul-destroying’ game he has attended at the home of England Rugby.

The 55-Test international didn’t hold back in his assessment of how England played, claiming they were ‘scared of their shadows’ in a performance that many have labelled an abject failure.

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“That was one of the most soul-destroying, demoralising, games of rugby I think I’ve ever been to at Twickenham,” Greenwood said in video published online.

“The side look completely devoid and shot of ideas. Scared of it’s own shadow, beaten up, out-played, out-muscled, out-thought.

“This year, played 13 and won five. Scotland win the Calcutta Cup every time they play us.”

As head coach Eddie Jones continued to look for the positives out of the loss, claiming England are heading in the right direction, Greenwood wasn’t buying the rhetoric.

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The former centre knows what it takes to build into a successful World Cup campaign, having been an integral part of England’s 2003 World Cup win.

After hitting rock bottom in 1998 on a Southern Hemisphere tour where they were smashed 76-0 by Australia, by 2000 they were Six Nations champions and repeated in 2001.

In 2003 they captured a Grand Slam before going on to win the Rugby World Cup later that year. The signs of improvement were visible after the 1999 World Cup quarter-final exit.

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“You can get caught up in the ‘building World Cup, building World Cup’ evolution and development. If that was happening, and we were playing and getting beaten 47-45 you’d sort of go, ‘yeah well done’,” Greenwood explained.

“But all I know right now is it is tough, tough to defend.”

Greenwood’s sentiment was shared by former players and pundits alike, with Jeremy Guscott calling for a ‘serious reboot’ after the dismal Autumn campaign.

The RFU announced a review will be undertaken with a ‘series of meetings’ but that wasn’t enough to appease rugby writer Stephen Jones who called the action ‘pathetic’.

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