“That was the worst I have ever seen England play by some margin given what was at stake.”
Clive Woodward has slated England’s performance after their loss to Scotland in the first round of the Six Nations Championship.
England were second best at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday as a lacklustre display saw Scotland control the game in terms of both territory and possession.
Woodward, who coached England to World Cup success in 2003, expressed his disappointment in the Daily Mail at his former team who “on paper looked more than capable of beating Scotland.”
A disappointing day at Twickenham.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 6, 2021
“One way or another I’ve watched every England game since the mid-1970s. I supported England, I was honoured to play for and then coach England, and in the media have covered England around the world.
“And that was the worst I have ever seen England play by some margin given what was at stake.
“But forget the 11-6 scoreline on Saturday, down on the freezing touchline at Twickenham it felt like a 30-point defeat.
“And this was a first-choice England side, at home, supposedly prepared to the Nth degree after two weeks in camp and the best part of two months together in the autumn. A team which on paper looked more than capable of beating Scotland,” Woodward wrote.
‘This can be traced back to the World Cup final.’
Despite winning three Six Nations Championships and reaching a World Cup final England have struggled to play consistently well under Eddie Jones.
Their most recent abject display was just the latest in a number of games where England were playing well below their potential.
Woodward, who coached the British and Irish Lions in 2005, believes England’s poor performance against Scotland can be traced back to their World Cup final loss against South Africa.
“I’m afraid this can all be traced back to England’s non-performance in the World Cup final, which many at HQ have tried to brush away.
“There was no professional inquest and debrief into a day when England looked all at sea from the moment they arrived 40 minutes late.
“As with yesterday, Eddie Jones immediately put his hands up and said he got the preparation wrong, but there is no need to say that. It is a given in professional sport.
“What did he get wrong? Why did he get it wrong? Where could England have been better? What needed to be done to ensure it never happens again?
“In English rugby we are very good at becoming outraged when the horse has already bolted,” Woodward commented.
England will get their perfect opportunity to bounce back from their loss to Scotland next weekend when they welcome Italy to London.