England coach Eddie Jones has praised his players and their development after completing his first year in charge of the national team.
The Australian said (via Reuters):
“The players have really changed, they are much more robust, more self-reliant. They can make decisions on the pitch by themselves, and we are seeing them (do that) in difficult games.”
It’s often been a criticism of England players in the past that they are too dependent on fixed gameplans and not able to move away from the overly-structured style of rugby that has at times come to dominate English domestic games.
Jones went on to talk about how his first match in charge against Scotland at Murrayfield back in January was a hard-fought win.
“We got the points and got a lot of confidence from that. I can remember getting out of the bus at the ground and this little Scotland fan was shouting out at the top of his voice ‘we’re going to stuff you guys, we’re going to stuff you guys’.
“That was the start of being part of that intense Six Nations rivalry between teams.”
Yet Jones refused to give himself and his backroom staff too much of the credit for the team’s improvements, instead choosing to focus on the players themselves:
“The players deserve 90 per cent of the credit and the other 10 per cent goes to the staff who work very well.”
England’s next test is against France at Twickenham on the opening weekend of the Six Nations on February 4th 2017.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena