BLOEMFONTEIN – After a run of five successive defeats, England and coach Eddie Jones head into this Saturday's Test against the Springboks under increasing pressure.
Just a few short months ago, Jones was widely being hailed as England's national hero after leading them to back-to-back Six Nations titles and through a remarkable run of 22 wins from 23 Tests since taking over at the helm after a disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign.
However, in many ways, Jones has gone from hero to zero after England finished fifth in this year's Six Nations tournament, while they more recently suffered a defeat to the Barbarians and the Springboks.
The media have clearly begun to turn on Jones, while he has also been embroiled in a battle with certain club officials over his rigorous training regimes that have led to a high injury count.
With England's bubble having well and truly been burst in 2018, there have been increasing questions over whether Jones is the right man to continue leading the team to next year's World Cup and beyond.
As it is, England's governing Rugby Football Union announced a contract extension for Jones just this past January, and which is set to run until 2021. However, the results of this year have made it seem like a hasty decision.
This past Saturday, some of England frailties were revealed once again as the team failed to take advantage of a 21-point lead against the Boks, and ultimately succumbed to a 42-39 loss.
However, Jones presented a defiant figure after the game, suggesting that a high penalty count (12) and individual errors had cost the team.
"It is hard to win any Test match with that number of penalties," he commented. "It is always my problem and we have to change the behaviour of the players. Sometimes that is not easy."
The question now is whether Jones can make the necessary changes for England to succeed in two remaining Tests against the Boks, and the answer may well determine his fate as England's head coach.
African News Agency (ANA)