Six Nations: Eddie Jones backed by RFU despite poor campaign ending in Paris defeat

Eddie Jones has been given the full backing of the Rugby Football Union despite another disappointing Six Nations campaign in which England finish third.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 21st March 2022, 6:05 am
France players celebrate victory after the final whistle at the Stade de France Picture: Adam Davy/PA
France players celebrate victory after the final whistle at the Stade de France Picture: Adam Davy/PA

The RFU has moved quickly to end any doubt over Jones’s future in the wake of Saturday night’s defeat by France, who were crowned Grand Slam champions in Paris.

It is the third time in five years that England have ended the competition with three losses and comes just 12 months after the Australian head coach survived an inquest into finishing fifth.

However, the RFU is confident he remains the right man for the job.

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England head coach Eddie Jones before the Six Nations match at the Stade de France Picture: Adam Davy/PA

Eddie Jones is building a new England team and against a clear strategy we are encouraged by the solid progress the team has made during this Six Nations,” an RFU spokesperson said.

“The RFU continues to fully support Eddie, the coaching team and players and we are excited about the summer tour and the progress to rebuild a winning England team.”

Jones will once again meet with Twickenham’s anonymous ‘advisory panel’ to analyse another failed campaign, but he will enter the process knowing his future is assured with the World Cup just 18 months away.

“Eddie and his team of coaches and players will conduct a full review as is normal after each tournament,” the spokesperson said.

England's George Furbank is tackled by France's Antoine Dupont (right) at the Stade de France Picture: Adam Davy/PA

“The RFU advisory panel – which consists of board and executive members, former players and coaches, along with Eddie – will also undertake a debrief to discuss the strong positive steps forward during this campaign and the areas we need to address.

“The advisory group has been in place since 2019 and it meets regularly both during and after each tournament to evaluate clear targets and progression.”

England produced a spirited display but their trademark resilience was insufficient to stop France from clinching the Grand Slam.

Jones’s men were outscored 3-1 on the try count but the battling nature of the performance will spare the head coach the harshest criticism

England’s best period came immediately after half-time and produced a try for Freddie Steward, but France showed their mettle to sustain only limited damage during a difficult spell.

Antoine Dupont ran in Les Bleus’ third try, adding to the earlier scores by Gael Fickou and Francois Cros, to seize back control and had their execution been sharper they would have been out of sight long ago.

England were turned over time and again to hamper their efforts of registering an upset, but they finished strongly and refused to throw in the towel even as France threatened to cut loose.

Just hours before receiving the unconditional support of RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney, Jones urged England fans to keep believing in his ability to lead the team to a successful World Cup next year.

Jones has called for patience as he continues his pivot towards younger players such as Marcus Smith, Steward and Harry Randall, promising the project will deliver at France 2023.

“They’ve got to have some faith. I think I’ve done a reasonable job for England for the past seven years,” Jones said.

“Am I pleased with the job I’m doing? I’m not pleased with the results. Do I think I’m coaching well? 100 per cent. I think I’m coaching well and sometimes you don’t get the results.

“I’ve coached for long enough to know this is all about rebuilding a team.

“Rebuilding a team at international level is a complex and intriguing project, particularly when you’re coaching a team like England where the expectation is so high.

“You don’t get any latitude when you’re bringing young players through who tend to be more inconsistent as they learn their craft at international level,” he said.

“Look at the French team, it took them three years to win the Championship.

“We’ve rebuilt the side from the last Six Nations. I think the progress is very positive and I couldn’t be more excited about the prospects for this team.

“The results aren’t the results we’d like – we’d all like to be winning tournaments and be at the top of the table.

“But we’re not quite good enough to do that now.

“But within the next 12 to 14 months, when we prepare for the World Cup, we will be.

“We’ve got 12 Tests before the World Cup and, if you look at that, it means guys like Freddie and Marcus and Harry are going to increase their Test experience by 100 per cent in that period.

“There is a great learning experience for them.

“I think the timing for our team going into the World Cup is very good.”