Eddie Jones has admitted that he should not have selected the same starting 15 he used against New Zealand in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
England were well beaten by the Springboks in Yokohama, having dominated the All Blacks in the World Cup semi-final just a week earlier.
Jones was speaking on the Not Just Cricket podcast and revealed that he had placed an enormous amount of emphasis on their semi-final encounter with New Zealand.
It doesn’t get much bigger than #WALvENG 🌹
💬 Read what Eddie had to say on the match 👇
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 25, 2021
“The crucial game for us was always going to be that semi-final, we knew we were going to play New Zealand in the semi-final, so that was the game we had to plan for,” Jones said.
“We always knew then it was going to be difficult to come back up because you’ve got to be at your absolute best to beat New Zealand in the semi. And we were, but then we struggle to get back to that level.
“We were probably two per cent off and they [South Africa] were two per cent better, and that’s the difference in those games.”
‘If we were one per cent better we could have won’
While the England head coach doesn’t regret targeting the All Blacks match, he conceded that he should have changed up his match-day squad for the final against South Africa.
“I think the only mistake I made in retrospect, is that I would have brought some fresh legs in to start the game for players that were maybe psychologically a bit tired, and maybe some fresh guys would have given us something.
“But if we were one per cent better, we still could have won that game, and they’re the fine margins that you’re looking for. And again, it just reinforces how important the psychology is of performances.
“We are all searching to find better ways of getting consistent performance,” Jones explained.
Jones will be desperate to finally win the Rugby World Cup with England in 2023, having also lost the final while coaching Australia in 2003.