Eddie Jones believed that external forces may have influenced the decision to select Marcus Smith instead of Owen Farrell for the game against France during the 2023 Six Nations, which resulted in a defeat.
“The selection of Marcus — to me that’s always the political selection,” said Jones on his podcast EDDIE.
“A player has been out of form, hasn’t quite done well at Test level and then he plays one or two club games and he’s a hero. The media starts banging on the door — you’ve got to pick him, you’ve got to pick him — and then the board reacts to that, and ask, ‘Why aren’t you picking him?’
“When you’re a young coach at the start of your career you can get influenced by that. I really felt for Marcus in that game.
“The thing you’ve got in England is the intenseness [sic] of the media, which then affects the board, and they start to step in, and that’s when you get problems. Allow the coach to coach.
“The board have a strategic role, but because they feel the pressure they try to get involved in the operational side, and that’s when things get worse. Unless you have strong people around the team that can be a difficulty.”
An RFU spokesperson told Telegraph Sport: “Team selection is entirely Steve’s decision as England Head Coach.”
2027 Rugby World Cup draw (Current rankings)
With the current World Rankings in mind, let’s delve into how the 2027 Rugby World Cup will shape up via Rugby Centre.
- South Africa