Best Of The Weekend: Springbok Comeback Stuns England

Maro Itoje

Maro Itoje

South Africa lay waste to England’s foundations

Watching the opening 20 minutes of England’s opening fixture on their tour to South Africa, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that the clock had reversed and taken you back to late 2016/early 2017. Back then, Eddie Jones’s side were looking to topple the All Blacks from their throne; all they needed to add was a bit of attacking flair and pace to the game, whilst maintaining their brutal winning mentality and generally rock-solid defence. At 24-3, that opening quarter on Saturday had everything England could possibly have been looking for.

George Ford was ripping the hosts’ defence apart with a range of exquisite passes. The outside backs were linking beautifully, exploiting the gaps that had been created. In quick succession, Mike Brown, Elliot Daly and captain Owen Farrell crossed for converted tries, complemented by a monstrous Daly penalty. South Africa had only a penalty in response, but that was all about to change. The pace of the game, whilst useful for the visitors in attack, seemed to have them at sixes and sevens when they finally had to defend. Faf de Klerk was devastating on his return to the international fold as he got his side back into the game with a try. That – combined with two tries for debutant S’busiso Nkosi and one for Willie le Roux – helped South Africa to a surprising 29-27 half-time lead.

The pattern continued after the break. Avoidable errors that weren’t rectified and the endless penalties (Eddie Jones can whinge all he wants; the vast majority were caused by his side’s stupidity) were killing England. Another try for the hosts, alongside two penalties, made the task even tougher for them. They did manage another two tries through Maro Itoje and Johnny May to make it 42-39, but it was not enough to defeat the Boks on Rassie Erasmus’s first game in charge.

Much has been made of the loss. However, a victory would have been seen as an upset in a tough stadium to visit. More troubling is the manner of the loss. Leading by that much and throwing it away is a disaster. It was unbelievable the lack of leadership in the forwards to slow the game down as soon as South Africa started to ease their way back into the game and kill their momentum. Positives from the opening will be taken, but hopes of a series win will be dead in the water unless discipline is sorted out and the side become more adaptable during a game. The dice needs to be rolled and we need to start seeing the side Jones intends on taking to the World Cup playing together sooner rather than later.

What happened elsewhere?

It was a mixed weekend for the Northern Hemisphere teams, with some pleasing results, but more were very disappointing.

Ireland had such an unstoppable momentum arriving at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. A series win was being targeted, which they will now do well to get after coming off distinctly second best against Australia. The tourists also struggled with their adaptability as their usual possession-based game struggled to break down the hosts’ resolute defence. Australia showed the only creativity in the game and thus won 18-9.

The Welsh were the success story of the weekend as they beat an Argentina side full on confidence after the form of Jaguares in Super Rugby. The visitors put in a dominant performance, scoring tries through James Davies and George North in a 23-10 victory.

Over in New Zealand, an impressive first half by France (they led 11-8) gave way to a horror show in the second as they were beaten 52-11. They can feel rightly aggrieved due to some big decisions (see villain of the week), but I’m not sure they would have been able to live with the All Blacks in that mood anyway.

After a stuttering start, Scotland came away comfortable victors in Canada. The experimental side scored seven tries in a relatively routine win against their hosts. Meanwhile, Italy fell apart in the second half against Japan to lose 34-17.

The U20s Championship’s group stages were completed on Thursday evening. England ensured they were seeded top with another bonus point victory against Scotland. They will face South Africa, who edged Italy and Wales to be the best second placed team, in the semi-finals. The other will be contested by New Zealand and hosts France.

Hero of the week

The way that he returned to represent South Africa after a long absence and was probably the biggest factor in their victory means that Faf de Klerk gets the award this week. Maro Itoje will be sick of the sight of him as he was a constant nuisance that he just didn’t know how to deal with.

Villain of the week

Heads have to be protected and the stringent laws on high tackles must be applied consistently and fairly. I can’t really understand the inconsistencies from game to game, but I guess referees are different and do see different things in different ways. However, how such a major inconsistency in the same game can happen in completely unfathomable. Given that Paul Gabrillagues was given a yellow card by Luke Pearce for a tackle around the shoulders, the fact that Sam Cane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi escaped by only conceding a penalty for a double shot to the head was an absolute joke.

Try of the week

I shall give England some respite here, given the slating they have received and having selected an Englishman as the villain to boot. When they were on fire they were unplayable in that first half and the running lines and support, complemented by the perfectly timed and placed passes meant Owen Farrell’s effort gets the award.

Discussion points

What does your starting team look like for next week?

What are the main areas England need to work on?

Who will win the U20s tournament?

What are your thoughts on the other Six Nations sides and their respective starts to their tours?

by Joe Large

49 thoughts on “Best Of The Weekend: Springbok Comeback Stuns England

  1. Muddled thinking on the field, wrong selections in the squad,Eddie’s continuing “i’m right and everyone else is an idiot” mentality,lack of leadership on the park, a scary lack of athletic power and dynamism from an increasingly week looking pack. oh, and Sinckler is not a test level 3, not in a million years. One day he may be but right now he’s just taking someone else’s shirt.

      1. Ello: “totally agree with all of these [Acee’s] comments”

        What, even the “not in a million years / well maybe one day” part? 😉

  2. Was the penalty count really 17 – 4? If it was then England were right up there with the most penalties awarded against a side in an International and SA amongst the very fewest (the average I believe is 20 in total per game). No complaints on the actual penalties that he handed out to England, most were deserved and stupid, but only 4 against SA? I didn’t see it that way at all, they were just as careless at the breakdown. No excuses SA fully deserved the win but it seems to me that the referee was only watching one side and looking only for England misdemeanours, I was a referee for nearly 20 years so know how easy it is to fall into that trap. On another point, the magic first 20 minutes? In my view It wasn’t so much that England were brilliant but SA defence was staggeringly bad, I enjoyed the tries as much as the next man but couldn’t believe SA’s naivety. Eddie Jones mustn’t fool himself, SA aren’t going to be that generous again.

  3. Good attacking play was cancelled out by woeful defending, and mistakes and infringements guaranteed England the loss. For all the talk of weakness in the backs, it was the forwards who were England’s undoing. For all Itoje’s achievements, having him and Isiekwe maybe meant England had less experience/leadership in the pack. Maybe England missed Launchberry.
    Disappointed by Daly, a lot of fans wanted him to be given a chance away from the wing but he was far from in control from FB. Wayward punting and a blunder cost England with a try.
    If there needed to be a slowing of the game, why didn’t Youngs make the forwards do this?
    England still seem unable to compete at the breakdown. Watching Ire v Aus earlier on Saturday and I really envy Australia now their chief fetcher has returned; Pocock was everywhere. Curry could only do so much, the other forwards need to step up and offer some support.
    Genge and Williams to start, give Mako a rest. George seems unwilling to take his opportunities at no. 2. Other than Launchberry there is only Hill, who is just as green as Isiekwe…not ideal. Brown back to FB and give Robson and Cipriani a go (Ford did play well though).

  4. Players playing out of position! At one point in the match England had:

    Brown a 15 playing 11
    Daly a 13/11 playing 15
    Farrell a 10 playing 12
    Brad Shields a 6/8 playing 4
    Nathan Hughes an 8 playing 7

    That’s a third of the team playing out of if their natural position!!! This squad is so unbalanced and weak it’s almost impossible to make changes.

    Why aren’t form players in their position on tour? Where is Don Armand, Dave Atwood, Ollie Woodburn, all who would have a decent chance of starting the next match. Why are players like Ben Earl, Nathan Earle, Solomona, Piers Francis etc in this quad when they aren’t realistically in a position to compete for a starting berth? Eddie doesn’t even have any faith in the wingers he’s selected – he plays daly at 15 but doesn’t have a winger he trusts to replace him so has to put brown there!

    1. Here, Here! The chicken’s came home to roost on Eddies decision not to include a replacement lock. With Launchberry injured the only other option is Johnny Hill who probably isnt ready. Another howler in squad selection.

    2. I’ve thought for a long time that you have you play for certain clubs to be welcomed into the hallowed corridors of England. The players from “lesser” clubs are merely token gestures to keep the masses happy. Feudalism!

      1. I won’t even go there from a Glaws supporters perspective, but for some time there has been an accusation of London centric player bias.

        Once again, looking at it from a club point of view, what experience could Ed Slater have added if he had come on for Isiekwe. Why not Woodward on the wing instead of Brown.

        Anyway, happy to have our players back next season, having had a good rest and not broken or injured by EJ! So long may the London bias continue…….

        1. Think you can feel aggrieved that Glaws players arent being chosen, despite playing well, but I don’t agree that there is a “London centric player bias”. Leicester, Northampton, Bath and Wasps regularly have representation in the England squad and all fall comfortably outside the M25.
          However, EJ has selected Earl and Earle despite both being very young/inexperienced so maybe there is something there…

          1. All right, I will come clean. There are some who possibly consider the eventuality that there may be evidence held on EJ by the Harlequins management that necessitates that he pick their players even when the team and those players are underperforming. To be fair can’t really hold that against the Sarries players as they have swept all before them.

          1. Personally not convinced that BV is the finished article yet. We looked much more poised with Heinz at SH last season – there’s another one who had a token look at the squad! BV’s time will come I think, but some more game time and polishing his game management first before an international call up for me. However his speed over the ground would have been ideal for the quick game on Saturday having said that!

    3. I think this blog needs a “like” button. I just want to give a big thumbs-up of agreement with Jack’s comment.

    4. Hardly rocket science. Play you best players in the positions they are used to. Plan you squad to have some cover in key positions with players who normally play in that position. If playing at altitude at least try to get the players used to this some days in advance. Give you need the best chance to win. Just a thought 🙂

  5. Do you know, I can’t even recall exactly who is in this squad. This whole tour has the feel of a complete shambles and the performance on saturday was entirely in keeping with the pantomime/calamity atmosphere that emanates from the England camp right now. The RFU must surely see that we are regressing at an alarming rate. so depressed it hurts.

  6. I fully agree Acee.EJ said the goal is to be no1 in the world -we are now no 5.He demands brutal honesty so do we Eddie.You are failing badly and you need to admit it.Lose the series 2-1 or worse 3-0 and English rugby is in free fall back to where we were when Stu left.Win the next 2 and there is a chance we can get back on track otherwise it’s bye bye to a respectable rwc

  7. I agree with a lot of what has been said, particularly around poor squad selection and players being out of position. However, the biggest gap in class on one to one match-ups was at scrum half. Youngs has a consistently slow service and is rarely in any hurry to have his forwards release the ball. The difference in speed of thought and accuracy of distribution between him and de Klerk was huge. I said before the game that Sinkler and Currie were not ready to play at this level, and I think they both proved me right. The fact that the pack was under such pressure meant that we had to commit the back row to staying down in the tight and SA were thus always on the front foot, getting over the gainline far too easily. Robshaw clearly lacks pace and BV did not look fit.
    No idea what EJ will do next week. He seems to be drawing names out of a hat and has no idea what to do next. My team would look something like this:-
    May, Brown, Solomona, Daly, Farrell, Cipriani, Spencer, Marler,George, Williams, Itoje (with new brain) Launchbury (capt) Shields, BV, Simmonds.
    Bench. Genge, Lozowski, and take your pick from the rest. We are short a wing, a second row and two back row forwards of quality. I think we will get beaten again by a few more than last week.

  8. I thought England were lucky in the end to only lose by 3.

    Few thoughts:
    – Brown needs to learn to defend from the wing. Several times, including the Le Roux try and in the lead up to the Daly howler, he was just far too narrow.
    – Defending through the middle. Way too often is was easy for SA to make yards just crashing up the middle. We really miss Joseph who hits well and has unbelievable quick lateral movement (helping this point and would have helped pushing Brown out).
    – EJ madness with the pack. Can not understand why Genge wasn’t on the bench to add late impetus, or why Isiekwe was taken off when he wasn’t that bad!
    – Robshaw. I’ve been a massive fan and defender of his over the years, but I’d drop him. He’s just not adding enough to the team. It looks like he is a yard or two slower over the past 18 months and it just means he keeps being a split second too late to breakdowns etc.

    Based on the above, I’d go next week with:
    Mako, George, Williams, Itoje, Launchbury, Shields, Curry, Vunipola, Youngs, Ford, Earle, Farrell, Slade, May, Daly
    LCD, Genge, Sinkler, Isiekwe, Hughes, Robson, Lozowski, Solomona

    1. Totally agree with the above points Jacob.
      Brown was pulled out of position all afternoon. He doesn’t have a clue on the wing (though funnily enough he’s played there coutless times!) A good 15 i’ve always said he is, however, who would never have fluffed the ball in goal.
      Robshaw i would agree is now too slow and doesn’t even make headway in the collisions (perhaps due to the same lack of speed) He looked a spent force in the 6 nations too (and I said so)
      Had Armand been picked he’d have provided some muscle and grist SA style. Whole pack was too passive!
      Earle on the wing worth a shout. A bit of pacy prime beef (for a lightweight team it could certainly be beefed up)

    2. Harsh on Brown I think Jacob, though he should not have been played out of position in the first place. He did tend to get drawn in but that was largely because the centre’s and back row were not doing their job inside him and Dr Klerk was creating an extra man by crossing the gain line so easily. I would have Brown back at full back next week.

  9. One of the most ridiculous things the journos keep saying about Eddie is that the rfu has invested so much in him they won’t drop him!
    So because they’re throwing loads of money at a failing cause they have to keep on doing so!!?? It’s like crony capitalism!
    Eddie is in danger of utterly destroying the confidence of very talented players.
    Whatever the reverse of the Midas touch is he has it. It’s the eddie after 2 years crash and burn syndrome!

  10. Just read that Remy Grosso has suffered double facial fractures following the tackles by Sam Cane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi. Luke Pearce’s decision not to punish either player seems more and more inconceivable.

  11. Faf De Clerk was simply outstanding, a constant pest who was willing to try anything and conjured something from nothing, he had a real buzz about him and had that little bit of spark which, to be brutally honest England are severely lacking.

    Young’s did everything you would expect and was quite boring a pedestrian, am I alone in thinking that it is time to give Robson a try or maybe bring Cipriani in, someone who will just add a bit of uncertainty in the oppositions mind.

    1. I’d love Cips to get a shot, but Ford was EXCELLENT when we actually gave him the ball. If the SH doesn’t pass to the FH then it doesn’t make a sodding difference if we have Cips or Ford standing at first receiver…

      1. I agree mostly, some of Ford’s passing was exceptional. However some of his kicks from hand were poor and piled the pressure on England.

        As good as the passing was, I don’t feel as though it is an area that he is stronger than Cips so I’d still make the change.

  12. Agree with the comments on FdK. He was outstanding. So quick – perfect for the game SA were trying to play. He also tackled superbly, and won a couple of penalties by virtue of being so small, any tackle on him was always going to be at head height! Not convinced that we have anyone who could compete with him to be honest.

    Regarding the breakdown, I think that the ref wanted this pretty much uncontested. A couple of the penalties that were given against us were essentially for having tackled the player and not letting go of him and allowing him to continue running. Seemed a bit harsh. The difference in the end was that SA adapted slightly quicker to this and had a scrum half who was better able to exploit it as he was far quicker to the breakdown. Not sure what we can do about this before next week?

    As a result of the lack of contest at the breakdown, both sides struggles to defend the quick ball and part of the difference was that we gave the ball away needlessly on a number of occasions, possibly brought about by tiredness due to the altitude. Lack of proper preparation EJ.

    It is interesting in that the Wales Argentina game seemed to have a completely different interpretation of the breakdown rules and the Argentinians seemed to struggle as Wales were able to compete hard at the breakdown and disrupt them unlike the usual Super Rugby standards (slight generalisation I know). A common interpretation in both hemispheres would help, although maybe, just maybe Wales have better players and understanding of how to deal with the breakdown?

    1. One thing we could do re SH being quicker to the breakdown is make a sub a bit earlier. Spencer got what 19 mins? BY could scarcely run after 50 mins, not sure he made it to any breakdowns at all after this point!

      But yes, point stands – EJ has refused to give Spencer/Robson etc a look in for 3 years, and is now in a position where he doesn’t think Spencer has the experience to manage a game for more than 15-20 mins.

      On the ref – I was getting very frustrated with him during the game. But mostly his calls seemed fair enough (not sure MV did much wrong for his yellow, and FdK HAD to be offside when he stole that ball from the ruck (surely?!)), Eng were just stupid (George lying around on the floor and failing to clear rucks as first man come to mind) or unlucky (Itoje is getting stick for his pens, but two were for highs on FdK who is 2 foot shorter and were borderline high anyway).

      Related point to the pens – George continues to disappoint in an Eng shirt for me. LCD didn’t do himself any favours with that final line out mind…

      1. Agree about the substitution TFD. It wasn’t as if Youngs was lighting up the park like FdK was. SA were a poorer team after he went off. Couldn’t say the same about Youngs.

  13. Ok – taking a breath and trying to think things through here…
    1. amazing game, really don’t have the words for some of the passing skills we saw in attack
    2. defending was made to look very poor, but some of the moves were really good and made the defending look that way
    3. EJ picked a team that went out and played ball in hand for 20 mins and built a sizeable lead. As much as I didn’t understand the team selection ahead of the match, it worked when they played ball in hand (first 20 and last 5).
    4. Eng only failed when Eng started kicking ball away. ALL OF THE TIME. Where EJ deserves a lot of stick in my mind is the fact we started H2 with the same thought process as we ended H1, rather than back to passing/running rugby that was so successful. The team who had the ball in hand looked like they could score at will – SA saw this and kept the ball, we either didn’t see it, or didn’t care.

    1. Recurring theme for England over the past year or so. Continually kicking the ball away to gain field position and build pressure on the opposition. This was effective when England had water-tight defense, and didn’t give away bucket loads of penalties. This approach also doesn’t work when kicking is inaccurate and too deep, or the chase is poor, and the opposition are able to return the kick with interest. Considering the strike runners England have in their back-line, it really is infuriating when the ball is not kept in hand as you mentioned.

    2. TFD excellent point, when Mako went off for that stupid block when we had ball in hand and decided to run from deep we looked quite dangerous.

      On another point I was Jonny May’s under Stuart Lancaster as he had the habit of getting the ball with space in front of him and pace to beat the defender and then cut inside, on Saturday he got the ball and backed himself to effect.

  14. I think next week he should go:

    15 – Brown (Daly didn’t play well there, and too much of a pressure game for Woodward to start)
    14 – May – one of his best games last week
    13 – Slade
    12 – Farrell
    11 – Daly
    10 – Ford
    9 – Youngs
    8 – Billy V
    7 – Curry (if he’s crocked, get Wilson in)
    6 – Shields
    5 – Launchbury
    4 – Itoje
    3 – Williams
    2 – George
    1 – Mako V

    Bench: Genge; Singleton; Sinkler; Isiekwe; Hughes; Spencer; Cipriani; Woodward

  15. I don’t know if this will make me sound like a loony but something else that concerns me is the body shape of many of the players. From one to fifteen the ‘boks looked muscular,powerful and dynamic.Foe example de Klerk is small in stature but he is compactly muscular and looks like an athlete. Several of our players look undefined and un athletic and the ability to generate real momentum and power when running into contact is just not there. Put simply, we are being left behind in the performance and conditioning areas of the game. Whether it be right or wrong from the purists’ perspective the modern game is played by super dynamic athletes who can go into contact and shrug off first up tackles by dint of the sheer running power they generate combined with rock solid musculature. England reflect the Premiership where players are generally more ready to go to ground and recycle than burst through tackles. Every time South Africa launched direct ,heads up ball carriers we melted away because we are just not physically or mentally equipped to deal with that type of power. The same thing occured time and again in the 6n and the Ai’s. Send big determined runners at the England defence and you will cause mayhem. That is not Jones’ fault or the players. It’s down to the way the game is coached and played here. We need to catch up and quickly.

  16. Most of England’s weaknesses are fixable.

    1. High penalty count.
    Article by SCW in one of the newspapers said he used to have a lieutenant whose job it was to tick off pen-offenders in real time and police that area of the game – his lieutenant was Matt Dawson! Who could EJ use?

    2. Stop kicking ball away especially on the high veldt where the ground is made for running. England can run (ref 1st 20 so why not the full 80?)

    3. Greater controlled aggression in the pack (why EJ never selected Armand for the tour i’ll never know as he’s about the only player in the prem with a Mr Nasty air about him good enough for a test.

    4. Select players in not out of positiion (Brown was the worst case and found wanting time and again in defence)

    On the plus side the attacking play was at times unplayable/undefendable….dare i say it like the AB attack. May’s try alone reminiscent of THAT try against the ABs (his own)

    So fix the above 4 and EJ could have himself another winning run.
    Undeniably his tour squad does not possess a Mr Nasty (ref point 4)

    1. Not only are these issues fixable, Saturday was an eminently winnable game even without fixing those issues. If Daly touches the ball down rather than misses it… We are being glass empty here, I think it is at least half full. Tries were scored, attack was present, it was delightful. People say “EJ thinks he knows it all, he’s an idiot” – well the attack didn’t work, he recognised he wasn’t doing an effective job, so he brought in a new attack coach and we scored tries. EJ has made, and continues to make, mistakes; but he does also recognise issues/weaknesses.

      Whilst Brown was anonymous in defence, his finish for his try was phenomenal. Again we can criticise the tackling, but his step off his left and then power to the line – unlike anything I ever recall seeing from the guy before. I was in shock.

    2. No you may NOT ‘say’, or state ‘like the AB attack’. The SA defence was so woeful as to be non existent in the 1st 1/2! England simply copied them in the 2nd 1/2. If you want to ‘possess a Mr Nasty’, how about applying?

      1. Didn’t know you were Steve Hansen’s deputy!
        When did your NZRFU contract arrive in the post?
        England’s attack was sublime first 20! Several people have said so. An opinion, i’ll admit (of more than one commentator on here)
        Relax Don or i’ll have to accuse you of sounding Trump-like or Mao-like and attempting to stifle debate!

  17. My real concern is not the result, clearly there were problems as highlighted by everyone already, but the obvious failure in squad and match day selection. The lack of 2nd row cover was indefensible and then he doesn’t even have Hill on the bench following the injury to Launch. He still refuses to give real minutes to a SH even with Youngs so clearly out on his feet and played almost half his team out of position during the match. With BV and Hughes obviously not match fit, Robshaw needing a rest and the refusal to select players in their place who are in much better form, I think EJ has shown himself to be in a really bad place and the main cause of the England malaise.

    1. Stu fully agree.I also feel a luxury beach side resort is hardly the right environment to prepare for matches on the high Veldt which is a very different place.Anyone with 1/2 a brain knows getting familiar with your environment helps you relax.Had they spent all their time on the veldt including this week in Bloem they would be in a better frame of mind than swimming about in the sea.Anothef clanger Mr Jones!

  18. Harsh on Brown I think Jacob, though he should not have been played out of position in the first place. He did tend to get drawn in but that was largely because the centre’s and back row were not doing their job inside him and Dr Klerk was creating an extra man by crossing the gain line so easily. I would have Brown back at full back next week.

  19. But EJ won what was it – 18 on the trot!
    Something never achieved by any other England coach.
    He can’t by definition have become a bad coach overnight! If he lost another 3 on the trot i’d keep the faith as apart from anything else he’s earned it! (The right to lose and be given the benefit of the doubt that is!) Anyone would be churlish to say he hasn’t the right!
    He was faced from the off with satisfying multiple people/interest groups and agendas.
    A. The RFU
    B. The fans
    C. The players

    He did so in quick time (perhaps too quickly but then we’d have moaned because of more losses in the early days if he hadn’t) having inherited Lancaster’s players and essentially SL’s same problems – they persist to this day:
    1. Midfield
    2. No’s 6 & 7
    3. Lack of in-team leadership (no Dawsons/Johsons or Dallaglio)

    To get the wins quickly and silence/buy off the RFU and the fans he papered over the cracks to an extent by keeping the faith with many of SL’s players. However to be frank the real 6’s and 7’s hadn’t raised their heads above the parapet by then ! (Nor had the 12 and 13’s) . The alternative flankers were considered too young, playing ‘abroad’ in Wales (Underhill) or in foreign fields like Armitage. EJ probably didn’t want to risk upsetting the rfu at that stage with a special circumstances release clause for Stefan. Its called politics and keeping your employers happy in the 1st month of the job!
    So all in all EJ has not done a bad job! He’s just going through a fallow patch and needs people to man up and back him.
    When in adversity even more so…surely!
    Ej makes mistakes. Sure. Plenty.
    He’ll make some more too!
    But he might also go on and get it right….eventually!

  20. Eddie has a history of starting well and then crashing and burning. It is well known that the Ozzie rugby cognoscenti said he would go well for 2 years and then things would come apart. Which is exactly what has happened!! I don’t feel I owe him anything frankly ….my loyalty is to the players who deserve way better than this and are in danger of becoming utterly demoralised.
    Australia sacked him after he racked up 8 out of 9 losses. We’re not there yet but if we lose all 3 this summer then imo it’s time for us to cut our losses and find someone else. We are in real danger of going out at the pool stages again.
    Oh and a coach who has a built in shelf life isn’t really that good a coach despite his enormous ego.

  21. EJ didn’t win 18 in a row for Australia though did he? That’s the bit your missing!
    He lost 8 out of 9 as you say for Australia. Not good we are all in agreement in so far as that goes. 18 from 24 odd is not BAD though or i’m a Dutchman!
    EJ himself said early on in his tenureship that it would be a 3 – phase project.
    He’s currently on stge/phase 2 of the 3 – The re-building phase! The rebuild has come later rather than sooner i would admit but he’s still on track. Satisfying the RFU and stabilising a rocky ship (players and public) was his first priority upon arrivall. Hard to knock him for that.
    Some could say his player experimentation should have been longer and deeper in phase 1 but then there would have been more losses. SL’s results weren’t that bad outside of the WC and losses early doors for EJ may have seen people asking for his sacking! A fickle world indeed and we know you can’t satisfy everyone!
    Sacking EJ now would be footballesque! When i last looked the money in rugby was not of the same ilk so sit down Mr Abramovich!
    Calm heads are required and calls to sack him premature – 12 months before a tournament!
    Cheika’s record was similar to Eddie’s 8 from 9 when he took over. People stuck with him and kept the faith and now look at him!

    1. 6 on the bounce now! can’t have done yr MH much good fella. And stop making excuses! EJ’s got a yr to put it right & he’s going backwards faster than you trot out Tommy rot. He’s changed nothing @ breakdown or midfield that works. Get real & stop stating poppycock.


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