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

By Sam Smith
Owen Farrell (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.

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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.

“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.”

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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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Comments

3 Comments
M
Michael 565 days ago

England have beaten the Boks on the last 3 meetings at Twickenham.

England came up short against the Boks, just like they did in RWC19 - why?

Its relatively simple - when they beat the Boks, they have not played the ABs beforehand.

Last week England fans and press were lauding the "comeback of the century" against the ABs! England were the real deal, they had turned the corner after Argentina.

As an AB fan we are still in a black cloud having again lost a sizeable lead - the 5th time in 9 games - despite Fosters denial that there is a problem.

A
Antonia 566 days ago

Has anyone considered that they have gameplans for the world cup that they are keeping under wraps until the world cup so no one can develop ways of stopping them?
Maybe Jones, captain of mind games, wants England to appear as less of a threat than they are. It's worth anything for the trophy he's come so close to but never won.
That being said, there are areas (discipline, set piece) that aren't up to scratch and they need to be sorted.
On Saturday we had struggles with injury and some uncharacteristicly poor performances, maybe in part due to the intensity of the opposition.
I think England have learned far more this autumn than if they had battled through like last year. Let's look at the long term here. They're already building towards a world cup, just maybe only on the training field.
I'd recommend squidge rugby's video to anyone interested (particularly SCW and other columnists)

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