VIDEO: 'The world hasn't ended'
SIX NATIONS REACTION: England coach Eddie Jones insisted the “world hasn’t ended” after a stunning second-half collapse saw his side suffer a 13-21 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.
The weekend’s reverse ended England’s hopes of a Grand Slam this season, with Wales now the only side left in the Championship who can complete a clean sweep.
“The world hasn’t ended. I guarantee you the world’s still out there and we’ll learn from this,” Jones said after his first defeat as England coach in five Tests against Wales.
“They beat us in the air, the penalty count was lopsided [England conceded nine penalties to Wales’ three] and when you are getting beaten in those two areas when it’s a tight game, you are going to struggle to get the result you want.”
England was 10-3 ahead at the break following Tom Curry’s try but ‘lost’ the second half 18-3.
Wales got back into contention through two Gareth Anscombe penalties conceded by England prop Kyle Sinckler, who was promptly taken off by Jones.
England captain Owen Farrell’s penalty made it 13-9 before Wales went ahead for the first time through lock Cory Hill’s 67th-minute try.
Replacement flyhalf Dan Biggar added the conversion before confirming Wales’ aerial superiority with a precise cross-kick caught by wing Josh Adams for the clinching try two minutes from time.
Wales coach Warren Gatland had labelled Sinckler an emotional “time-bomb” in the lead-up to the match.
But the New Zealander, who will stand down as Wales coach after this year’s World Cup in Japan, was slightly more complimentary after the final whistle.
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“He’s a fantastic rugby player, but he does have a few demons to deal with,” said Gatland, who coached Sinckler during the 2017 British and Irish Lions’ drawn series in New Zealand.
But Jones defended the Harlequins front row forward by saying: “I didn’t know Warren had a degree in clinical psychology, so let me know and I might go and see him as well.
“We just felt it was the opportune time to make a change…He was starting to get a little bit tired.
“I know you guys [the media] want to single him out because Warren said what he said, but don’t be unfair to him. He’s a young player on the way up. Look after him a bit.”
England arrived in Cardiff on the back of a convincing win away to Six Nations champions Ireland and a 44-8 rout of France at Twickenham.
But Saturday’s result was a reality check as Wales continued their remarkable sequence of beating England in every year ending in ‘9’ since a 9-3 Cardiff success in 1949.
Gatland said the manner of England’s defeat raised questions over their big-match temperament but Jones insisted it would have no bearing on the World Cup in Japan.
“Once we get through the Six Nations then we can start worrying about the World Cup,” said Jones.
Had England won, they would have been overwhelming favourites to complete a Grand Slam as their next two games are at home to Italy and Scotland.
Italy has yet to beat England anywhere, while Scotland’s last win at Twickenham was in 1983.
“All we’ve got to do is beat Italy,” said Jones. “Beat Italy and we are in the last round and we’ll see where the land lies.”
Asked what England would do next week, Jones joked: “I won’t be coming back to Wales, that’s for sure. We are going to Oxford and we have Georgia coming.
“It’s an opportune time to do some good set-piece work against them so we had this planned for a while.”