World Cup hero supports Eddie Jones
SPOTLIGHT: Neil Back has urged Twickenham to keep faith with embattled head coach Eddie Jones in the belief he is best equipped to lead England out of their slump.
England fell to their worst Six Nations performance by finishing fifth, placing Jones at the centre of a Rugby Football Union investigation into what went wrong, with a verdict due in mid-April.
RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney has promised a “brutally honest analysis” and has declined to give Jones public support as the Australian fights for his future.
Jones’ win ratio of 77 percent is appreciated at Twickenham and Back, England’s World Cup-winning openside in 2003, believes his success in plotting a route out of a similarly-troubled period once before must count in his favour.
“Eddie’s a good coach and his record speaks for itself, so I wouldn’t get rid of him. There’s a lot of pressure on him, but that will make him even better,” Back said.
“We’ve been here before under Eddie in 2018. Eighteen months later, we probably played the best any England team has played in the World Cup semifinal against New Zealand. We then got to the final.
“Eddie’s success rate, on paper, is better than any other England manager. He’ll look back on this Championship brutally to see where he and the squad could have done things differently.
“Painful lessons are sometimes very valuable going forward and finishing fifth was massively disappointing.
“He failed to read how the Saracens players who didn’t have a lot of game time would perform. He thought they’d be successful, but he was wrong and will learn from that.
“Undoubtedly there will be changes in players. He’ll bring some new players in to freshen things up.”
Sweeney will lead the debrief which is being conducted by a panel of rugby figures and Jones will be quizzed on concerns over selection, tactics and discipline.
Despite the defeats by Scotland, Wales and Ireland – the first time England have lost to all three home unions since 1976 – Jones’ record of a Grand Slam, two Six Nations titles and a World Cup final appearance is expected to save him.