'Wait for the video... I have got the production team on it now'
Eddie Jones managed to find some room for levity in the wake of Saturday’s 20-17 loss to Scotland, the beaten England coach quipping tongue-in-cheek that he has got a production team already working away on putting together a Rassie Erasmus-like video critical of the refereeing decisions made in the Guinness Six Nations opener at Murrayfield.
England looked set for victory after a dominant second-half effort had seen them overturn a 6-10 interval deficient to lead 17-10 with 16 minutes remaining when they called their lone points scorer Marcus Smith ashore.
However, they soon imploded, the yellow-carded Luke Cowan-Dickie conceding a penalty try and Scotland then went ahead with a penalty at a scrum after loosehead Joe Marker stuffed up throwing in at the lineout with no England hooker on the field.
England next turned down a game-levelling penalty kick to instead go down the line in the closing minutes and the match then ended up in frustration, referee Ben O’Keeffe opting not to reward scrum dominance with the penalty that would have allowed replacement George Ford the chance to draw the match with the last kick.
Jones refused to be drawn into critiquing the referee. He instead batted away the query by referencing Springboks director of rugby Erasmus who videoed a 62-minute rant following the first Lions Test last July, criticism that resulted in him getting a two-month total ban from all rugby.
"Eddie Jones was booed into the ground by home fans and he would have been booed out by away fans if they hung around long enough to see him off the premises, w/@heagneyl ??? at Murrayfield.#EnglandRugby #GuinnessSixNations #SCOvENG #Scotland
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 5, 2022
“It was three points at the end and the referee becomes pretty influential in those situations. Wait for the video, mate. It’s coming out. I have got the production team on it now. It is called ‘Rassie In Love With’. That is my production team so I am getting ready,” joked Jones at his post-game media briefing.
“We have only got ourselves to blame,” he added, adopting a more serious reflection on the round one loss. “We are massively disappointed that we lost and Scotland deserved to win, but we dominated a lot of the game but didn’t get the points out of the domination.
“At the end of the day rugby is a pretty simple game – if you dominate you have to get points and you have to get enough to be in front of the opposition at the end. The result is the result and it is tough for us to start the tournament like that. We had a good preparation and played with a lot of drive and determination. We will go to Italy next week and be even better.”
On Cowan-Dickie, he said: “Luke is disappointed, that happens in the moment. He played exceptionally well and he is very disappointed, but all the boys are supporting him.” On taking off talisman Smith, he added: “We felt that George could come on and do a job for us in the last 20 minutes.”
As for the costly decision to allow Marler throw-in at the lineout without getting on sub Jamie George to take it, the coach commented: “We thought we would wait for a scrum because we wanted to keep the back-rowers on. At that stage, Scotland were moving the ball around a lot and we felt we needed that third back-rower on. Certainly, I’d take the blame for that.
“We kicked well. We forced a number of line dropouts and attacked well from that (in the first half). They defended really well. We got held over the line once. Could we have been a bit more clinical in our attack? Yes, and we would like to do that in the future.”
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