‘England are going backwards under Jones’

Sir Clive Woodward says that England haven’t properly dealt with their 2019 World Cup final defeat to the Springboks and head coach Eddie Jones is to blame for their poor results.

England’s 32-18 defeat to Ireland condemned them to a fifth place finish in the Six Nations, when they were aiming to defend the title they had won last October.

Given that they were also beaten by Scotland and Wales, it was also the first time England had lost to each of their Triple Crown rivals since 1976.

Speaking on ITV Sport after Saturday’s match, Woodward – who guided England to the 2003 World Cup title – said Jones had made a massive mistake by not properly debriefing the team after their 2019 World Cup final loss to South Africa in Yokohama.

‘I think this has been coming since the World Cup final,’ Woodward told ITV Sport. ‘I still don’t think there was a real debrief since England’s loss to South Africa – everyone was still carried away with the New Zealand game [in the semi-final].

‘A no-show in the World Cup final, and it’s never been properly taken apart – what actually happened, what’s gone on? I just get the feeling that Eddie and the team thought: “We’re a youngish team, we’re going to win it in four years’ time”.

‘That’s a massive mistake. International rugby is game by game by game. The moment you don’t see things going well, you have to make various changes.’

Woodward went on to say that Jones himself needs to accept full culpability for his side’s poor results this year and that he needs to be held accountable by England’s RFU.

‘For Eddie, the coach, this is time to look in the mirror. The only person to blame is yourself. You don’t look through the window and blame other people, the press or the media.

‘You look in the mirror and say: “We’ve got to start again now, two years from the [2023] World Cup”.

‘I just don’t know who is there at Twickenham to question Eddie because he seems to be “all-powerful”,” added Woodward following another ill-disciplined England display.

‘After this game, he needs to be questioned. What are you doing, how can you give away 14 penalties? You need some straight answers. [Otherwise] at best, you will tread water or go backwards.

‘And we are going backwards. We’re going backwards at a rate of knots at the minute.’

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