Eddie Jones: 'We need to reset the team. It's a transition period'

  • England coach threatens shake-up following defeat to Ireland
  • Tactics and personnel will change in buildup to World Cup

Eddie Jones will not be considering his position as head coach after England suffered their third defeat of the Six Nations to finish one off the bottom of the table.

The result was virtually a reverse of the one when England last played at the Aviva Stadium and won 32-20. They were 26-6 down when the Ireland centre Bundee Aki was sent off 17 minutes from the end for a high tackle on Billy Vunipola and the home side finished with 13 men with Conor Murray in the sin-bin.

“The issue is not me getting through to the players,” said Jones, who took charge of England after the 2015 World Cup. “If it was, I would not be coaching the team. There were a number of positive things to take from the game but we need to assess where we are going.

“The main thing we are missing is consistency of performance, which sometimes happens. We showed a high level against France the week before and we have honest players who work hard. We started well but then dropped our intensity and allowed them to get to us. I don’t know why. There was a lot of space against France but this was always going to be a more attritional game.”

England finished fifth in 2018 when they were again defending their title. It prompted Jones to shake up his squad and the following year they overwhelmed New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final.

“It is a transition period and it is natural for that to happen in terms of tactics and personnel two years before a World Cup,” said Jones. “There will be a change of personnel after the Lions tour and we need to reset the team.” Asked whether he still expected more than 20 of his players to be selected for the trip he replied: “I am not sure how many we will have. I do not control that.”

Ireland enjoyed their most significant victory since Andy Farrell, who was part of the England set-up that preceded Jones, took over as head coach after the last World Cup. “We have come in for a lot of stick but we knew we had this performance in us,” said Farrell. “We beat a very good side and we have given Warren Gatland [the Lions head coach], who was at a training session with us this week, one or two problems.”

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Farrell added he had spoken to the referee Mathieu Raynal about the red card shown to Aki, who was sent off in the last World Cup against Samoa for a similar challenge. “It is a tough one. Billy seemed to be dropping into the challenge, but the rules are the rules. Bundee is gutted because he is good friends with Billy.”


Paul Rees

The GuardianTramp

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