“England don’t go into a Six Nations expecting to come fifth.”
The Rugby Football Union has refused to rule out sacking Eddie Jones after his England side finished fifth in the 2021 Six Nations table.
RFU review of Eddie Jones’ position.
Jones himself has been England’s head coach since 2015 and guided them to the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
England were beaten by South Africa in the final and the team’s performance levels have steadily declined since then.
RFU chief executive, Bill Sweeney, is promising a full review in mid-April and didn’t rule out making a change at head coach.
“We are all incredibly disappointed. England don’t go into a Six Nations expecting to come fifth,” Sweeney said.
“The purpose of a debrief is to look at what we learned from the Six Nations, leave no stone unturned and address the issues that need to be fixed.
“If we have to make changes, we’ll make changes.”
Sweeney was keen to stress that Jones was disappointed with the results and accepts a review is needed.
“It’s important to stress that Eddie’s not in denial,” Sweeney continued.
“He’s not quoting his win ratios, or previous tournaments or his record up to now. He’s totally focused on now and going forwards.
“He is hugely disappointed and he knows it’s going to be a thorough and brutally honest debrief. We need to get to the facts of it.
“We need to lift the hood up, have a look in there and say, ‘Are we headed in the right direction?’.
“But let’s just do it with a bit of common sense, a bit of caution and a bit of calm, in a very considered way.”
Eddie Jones’ record as England coach.
Sweeney did, however, point to Jones‘ record in the job since 2015, which has included three Six Nations titles.
“You have to recognise and respect Eddie’s achievement since he’s been here — three Six Nations titles, a Grand Slam, a World Cup final,” Sweeney added.
“His performance against Southern Hemisphere teams is terrific, but we want him to talk to us about what happened in the Six Nations and ask, ‘Do you think we are on track to where we want to get in 2023?’.”
Ireland’s best performance of the campaign 💪
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 21, 2021
The RFU chief executive also addressed rumours that Jones does not have the influence that a head coach would normally get.
“I would say that is wrong. That is absolutely not the case,” Sweeney replied.
“I know that is a perception, but he doesn’t have power and influence within Twickenham.
“He is the head coach, he selects the squad, picks the team and is judged on performances, like most coaches.
“He is very transparent with us in terms of his thinking, plans, preparation. He is completely open.”
“There is accountability, but you also have to allow your head coach to get on and do what he has to do.
“I’m not going to question his tactics round the line-out, I’m not going to talk to him about how Matt Proudfoot is doing around the set-piece.
“But to think he is totally on an island by himself, with no accountability, no interaction — it’s honestly just not the case.
“There is not a head coach in the world who is not the boss. You can support, you can challenge, but they are the boss. They select.
“If you impose, you set yourself up to emasculate your head coach.”