After 5-test losing streak, England’s Jones still believes
LONDON (AP) Eddie Jones will review the South Africa tour with Rugby Football Union chief executive Steve Brown this week still convinced England can win the Rugby World Cup next year.
Jones and his squad returned to London on Monday after losing the test series 2-1.
The RFU has assured Jones he remains the man to lead the team to the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 15 months. Jones has a lot of credit with his employers for the team’s remarkable rebound from the 2015 Rugby World Cup humiliation. But chairman Andy Cosslett, while happy with the face-saving win in Cape Town on Saturday, says their support isn’t unconditional, adding, ”You have to keep a sense of proportion about this.”
England blew leads in the first two tests and lost them 42-39 and 23-12, extending a losing streak that started in the Six Nations to six matches and five tests. The streaks ended at Newlands, where England found wet conditions more to their liking.
The 25-10 victory has provided some breathing space heading into a November schedule comprising of fixtures against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, and Australia.
”We want to win every test. We want to win the World Cup and sometimes you do things that might not necessarily mean you are at your best for that test match,” Jones said.
”I’d like to win every game and I’d like to be the best team ever, but we’ll settle at where we are at.
”I’m enjoying what we are going through. It is just a natural part of a team development.”
Jones’ mantra throughout the tour has been that England are a team in transition, plugging gaps left by the absence of veteran operators such as James Haskell, Dan Cole, and Dylan Hartley with the likes of Tom Curry and Kyle Sinckler.
Across each test in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, and Cape Town, however, the Springboks fielded teams with fewer caps.
”You start as (South Africa coach) Rassie Erasmus has done. You get some easy games and you improve and then you have got to renew the team,” Jones said.
”Sometimes that renewal is difficult because you have to bring in some new players and maybe some of the older players are not performing where they should be, and so you’ve got a bit of a gap in the team.”