Eddie Jones promises England ‘will get out of this’ after defeat by Wales buried their Six Nations title defence… urging his squad to ‘stick together’
- Wales beat England 40-24 on Sunday to end Eddie Jones’ Six Nations hopes
- Discipline issues were at the forefront as England’s miserable form continued
- Jones admitted a defence was ‘almost impossible’, aiming to work on flaws
Eddie Jones has urged his England side to stick together and fix the disciplinary flaws that have wrecked their Six Nations title defence.
Defeats by France at Twickenham on March 13 — subject to Government approval after their Covid outbreak — and Ireland in Dublin would leave England facing the possibility of finishing as low as fifth in the table, just five months after winning the 2020 tournament.
Despite mounting pressure, England head coach Jones is under no threat, but after the 40-24 defeat by Wales he conceded: ‘It is almost impossible for us to win the championship now.
England slumped to a 40-24 defeat to Wales on Sunday evening, ending their Six Nations tilt
England have failed to recover their form after their earlier shock defeat to Scotland in London
Eddie Jones has promised to haul England out of their slump and repair his side’s flaws
‘So we just have to approach the game against France as an opportunity to get back on the front foot. We are going in the right direction. We still have areas to improve. We have to make sure we stick together.
‘The players now have a week off and come back into camp late on Sunday and then we will dig in. As coaches, we will be working out how to fix the problems we had against Wales and how we are going to beat France.
‘We have been through these periods before. Every team goes through these. Everyone is going to have an opinion. Some might be right but we just have to listen to what is important.
‘We know how hard we are working and we know what direction we are going in. We will get out of this.’
England lifted the Six Nations just five months ago but have suffered a nosedive in form since
George Ford echoed his head coach’s call for unity and optimism that England can emerge from this rut — but admitted that there must be a solution found to the persistent problem of indiscipline.
‘Obviously, the thing that let us down significantly was our discipline,’ said the Leicester fly-half. ‘In Test matches, one penalty is enough to shift the momentum of the game, never mind a handful.
‘It’s something we’re going to have to grab hold of as players. It’s not the first time it’s potentially cost us. We’re going to have to front that one up. It’s massively disappointing.’
Asked if he could identity an underlying cause, Ford added: ‘I’m not sure. I wouldn’t say we were massively under the cosh, where we had to be desperate to try to stop the momentum. We were good defensively but obviously there is something that we have to look at and fix it very quickly.
George Ford is determined to solve the issues that have caused England’s fall from grace
‘But the main message from the coaches was that we will come through this and out the other end — 100 per cent.
‘Stick together, fix things up, be honest with each other and move on.’
Meanwhile, England have opted against lodging an official complaint to World Rugby over the performance of referee Pascal Gauzere in Saturday’s defeat.
Gauzere awarded Wayne Pivac’s side two highly dubious tries in the opening half an hour, the first of which was particularly controversial.
Former England captain Martin Johnson described the French official’s decision to allow Josh Adams’ 17th-minute touchdown as ‘appalling refereeing’, while even former Wales skipper Sam Warburton admitted Jones’ team were right to be ‘livid’.