Best Of The Weekend: Pressure Builds On Jones

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones

England’s South Africa tour continues to create problems

For the second week in a row, England managed to undo the good work they had done in the early parts of their fixture against South Africa. It is a growing concern that they are unable to react to the way a game is panning out and, equally worryingly, very few players are standing up on the field and taking control of the situation.

It seemed that Eddie Jones had identified a few areas of weakness by reinstating Joe Launchbury at lock and dropping Chris Robshaw from the flank when they flew out of the blocks courtesy of Mike Brown and Johnny May tries. However, key messages of discipline seemed to have been lost in translation as the hosts were allowed back in the game once more. The situation was so dire, in fact, that the tourists would not score again for the rest of the game.

The titanic Duane Vermeulen set the Boks on their way and, combined with the boot of Handre Pollard, they took a slender lead into the interval. England were at sixes and sevens and gave away a crucial penalty try that all but secured their defeat midway through the second period. Crucial substitutes (Danny Cipriani) were called on too late to stand any chance of overturning the 23-12 score-line and so Jones’s side were done.

After such a magnificent run, it now seems that England are in their worst form in recent memory. The manner of the defeats has been more worrying than the losses themselves as it seems that lessons are just not being learnt. As far as I can see, Jones has two options next week: win, or roll the dice and give the likes of Cipriani or Dan Robson a chance and just see.

What happened elsewhere?

Ireland showed how to react to defeat when they identified areas of improvement, acted on it and then went on to beat Australia in Melbourne. It was their first victory in the country for nearly four decades and the fans most certainly made it known. Although they won 26-21, they were outscored by three tries to two, but in contrast to last week, they starved the Wallabies of possession and were far more intense and ensured they drew out the penalties to win them the game.

In what was most certainly the most surprising result of the weekend, the USA secured their first ever victory over a ‘Tier One’ nation. They beat Scotland, who missed a late kick, 30-29 in Houston.

Wales ended a perfect tour with another victory over Argentina. The 30-12 victory with an ever-adapting team goes to show that they may yet be a force to be reckoned with in Japan next year.

An early red card for France probably cost them the game against New Zealand as they gave a plucky performance in going down 26-13. Meanwhile, Italy responded to last week’s defeat in Japan with a 25-22 victory.

The Pacific Nations Cup was won by Fiji after they defeated Georgia in the decider. In the World Cup qualification, Germany were the beneficiaries of the furore in Europe by beating Portugal in the playoff.

Hero of the week

When an emerging nation beats an established power for the first time, it can only be good for rugby in general. It will be interesting to see if the USA can carry that confidence forward into next year’s World Cup and cause some troubles in the ‘Group of Death’ with England, Argentina, France and Tonga.

Villain of the week

The fallout from England’s rut doesn’t seem to be confined to the media and speculation. When Ben Youngs walked out of an interview and Mike Brown and Joe Marler got into a heated discussion with fans, it showed that there must be some underlying disquiet in the camp. How Eddie Jones can claim that his side always win and lose with dignity after that is beyond my levels of comprehension.

Try of the week

It was a great week if you love to see rampaging props, which I think everybody does. Joe Moody, Tadgh Furlong and Cedate Gomes Sa all looked unstoppable, but Joe Taufete’e literally bashed through a wall of would-be tacklers on his way to a second try.

Discussion points

How do England’s backroom staff need to change to progress?

What about on-field personnel?

Can Ireland secure that series?

How can we ensure that results like that of the USA aren’t complete one-offs?

by Joe Large

11 thoughts on “Best Of The Weekend: Pressure Builds On Jones

  1. As a Welshman I have to say surely villain of the week goes to Moriarty? Or is the blog, as it appears only concerned with The England set up? Does not seem to be as much in the threads about the other home nations summers tours. Just my thoughts and I’m sure someone will be along to shoot me down.

    1. Agreed that Villian of the Week should go to Ross Moriarty – that was really quite nasty. he seemed to have lost his head.

      Or, to Benjamin Fall.

      On Ben Youngs interview; why does anyone care about this? I quite like the fact that he was pissed off right at the end of the game. Let’s not forget that he later apologised and provided a fuller interview to the same reporter.

      Equally, Marler and Brown, good for them – it was hardly the second coming of Trevor Brennan was it?

      If England had to provide a villain, I would go for either Mako Vunipola or Nathan Hughes for their ludicrous Yellow Card offences (albeit not issued in Vunipola’s case).

    1. If you go back through previous posts you will see the blog committed to being England centric a while ago.

  2. For England its time for a change, the series is lost lets have a shot to nothing.

    Bring in Cips and Robson to start, move Daly to 13 alongside Farrell, Earle at full back.

    Start Simmonds at 8, drop Itoje, just do something different.

    We are just too predictable ‘Give ball to Billy, bosh’, Youngs pedestrian, slow and bloody obvious, players played out of position and lack of adequate cover on the bench thie list goes on. By the sounds of it the second test was a carbon copy of the first, discipline and the breakdown is also still mindbogglingly awful.

    Eddie is a good coach but his stubbornness is letting him down by trying to stick to his guns, the other reason we are loosing is that teams have realised (even in the record run) our defence sucks and they simply have to outscore us.

  3. In answer to Joe’s question on the final test, I say England go all out. Personally I would rather see an experimental XV than the same side run out.
    Defense seems to be a big issue for England. Is Gustard leaving the reason? I’m not sure, we have been found wanting in this area for a while now and maybe a new approach is needed. The set-piece was a mainstay of the English success at the start of EJs tenure, though I’m less likely to blame Hatley for the drop in form considering there are key personnel missing. Sinkler was found wanting imo, being stood up in the scrum by his opposition. Hepburn should have been included in the original tour and key injuries to Genge and Obano meant the front row was missing its in form players.
    England’s attack has looked better since Wisemantel joined, but Youngs is far too pedestrian and really kills the momentum.
    My villain is Angus Gardener. World Rugby has rescinded Fall’s red card, stating it should not have been brandished in the first place. Its clear Fall was challenging for the ball and the injury to Barrett was purely accidental. Once again the French have been denied a genuine chance to compete because of poor (preferential?) officiating.

    1. I had no idea that the Red Card had been rescinded.

      I have mixed feelings over this – didn’t Gardner apply the law directives correctly? This surely means that we have a real mess over how these incidents should be handled.

      To me, it was not at all clear that Fall was challenging for the ball. Yes, he was looking at it, and yes he had his arms out, but I understood that the whole point of these law directives is that the players have to also consider the safety of the other players.

      1. Rescinded this morning I think.
        It’s so subjective, so for that reason I don’t envy the referees or WR officials who have to try and properly judge this area of the game.
        Were the laws applied correctly? (genuine question).
        2 players were both in the air, going for the ball and one came off worse than the other. If Fall had jumped higher, but Barrett had still come off worse, would it still be a red card?
        Fall was (slightly) impeded by ALB so wasn’t able to compete properly either.

  4. I think EJ should mix some experimental selections with a desire to win. As such:

    1 – Marler; 2 – LCD; 3 – Williams; 4 – Itoje; 5 – Launchbury; 6 – Wilson; 7 – Curry; 8 – Shields; 9 – Youngs; 10 – Cipriani; 11 – May; 12 – Farrell; 13 – Daly; 14 – Earle; 15 – Brown

    Reps: Hepburn, George; Sinkler; Hill; Simmons; Robson; Lozowski; Woodward


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