DURBAN - England coach Eddie Jones is a man, who in his own words, is always under pressure. However, with six games in a row lost, and a series defeat in South Africa already wrapped up before the dead-rubber in Cape Town on Saturday, that pressure is causing cracks.
The England side have felt the full brunt of their media and fans at home, but the word in London is that the RFU still have faith in Jones to take the Roses to the World Cup in Japan next year. It is believed that the RFU is not looking at sacking Jones in any sort of knee-jerk reaction, however, their support is not as unwavering as it has been previously. A brief statement was released to try and quell the suspicions. “The RFU supports Eddie Jones and his coaching team,” the statement mentioned.
However, even if Jones has the support of the RFU, he will need to turn things around both on the pitch, and in the camp. The losses are of course displeasing, but the manner in which the English side has fallen from grace is even more disappointing.
The players in the England camp seem to be on edge with Harlequins pair Mike Brown and Joe Marler allegedly involved in verbal exchanges with spectators. On the pitch, captain Owen Farrell was also seen to lose his cool at a decision made by referee Romain Poite at the weekend. Scrumhalf Ben Youngs also walked away from an interview with a television broadcaster after giving one curt answer in Bloemfontein, only to apologise later on Twitter.
Jones has also lost the services of influential brothers, Billy and Mako Vunipola, with the No 8 fracturing his arm in Bloemfontein and the prop heading home to attend the birth of his first child. England will also be without the services of backup prop Ellis Genge, whose tour is over because of a knee problem, resulting in a call-up for Alec Hepburn.
“My job is to make the team win and it is not winning, but I have also got a job to do which is the process of coaching. I think I am doing that as well as I can. And the results will come,” Jones said. “I haven’t had too many times when I have experienced this. And it’s tough. Sometimes you have to be very disciplined in the way you think. But we are only two to three per cent away from turning this around. And I know that. I absolutely know that.”