Sir Clive Woodward has been given his opinion on Eddie Jones and England in his Mail Online column following their record low finish in the 2018 Six Nations.
England’s defeat yesterday Ireland at Twickenham today was their first defeat on home turf since the Rugby World Cup, the first time they’ve lost three back-to-back Six Nations matches since 2006 and also resulted in them finishing fifth for the first time in competitions 18-year history.
“After three straight defeats and a lowly fifth place in the Six Nations table there must of course be an England inquest into the past seven weeks from Eddie Jones but I want to start by first highlighting how good Ireland have been.” wrote Woodward.
“Not least because if you study their successful template there are considerable clues as to where England went wrong.
“Ireland were excellent, the best team in the tournament by a distance. They are the best-coached side in Europe, with Joe Schmidt and Andy Farrell missing nothing, and they have the best strength in depth, making light of big injury absences.
“England and Eddie Jones in contrast have got to do a lot of soul-searching and honest words need to be spoken. But above all it needs to be done in a calm atmosphere away from the limelight.
“I’ve written about this before but Eddie — partially because he is a big personality who the media will naturally latch on to — has become too much the ‘show’ and there have been way too many distractions this season. You cannot operate long-term like that, it saps your energy and the team lose focus.
“So it is time for Eddie and his coaching staff to go to ground, it is a time for a period of silence. In fact, although they are all workaholics, with Eddie setting the tone in that respect with his 4am texting sessions to players when he cannot sleep, everybody needs to hit the beach and neck a few cold beers.
“England have not just lost three games on the trot, it is the manner of defeat.
“They were incredibly poor against Scotland and France and although there was undoubtedly an improvement in their physicality and intensity on Saturday, I cannot say there was ever a time in the game I thought they looked likely to really trouble Ireland.
“England were also poor for the last hour against Wales and back in the autumn only against Australia in the latter stages of the game did they hit their straps.
“Why? What’s going wrong and how can England play better. I have read that England need an attack coach. Another coach? They already have the biggest backroom staff in the world, the camp is packed full of rugby nous and players who make their successful club teams tick.
“No, what is needed most of all is for England to clarify how they want to play. Eddie needs to sit down and debrief everybody, player by player and get their view.”