Several players will admit they had a “bloody miserable” experience in England in the review that will determine Eddie Jones’ future as head coach.
The review, led by Rugby Football Union Managing Director Bill Sweeney, will collect players’ opinions after England’s miserable Six Nations campaign that defeated them to Scotland, Wales and Ireland for the first time since 1976.
Under strict Covid-19 regulations at England’s training base in Lensbury, players were largely confined to their rooms outside of training, with squad socialization severely restricted.
Prop Ellis Genge spoke about the ‘horrific’ psychological toll last week and sources said the opinion is widely shared within the squad, although senior players such as Maro Itoje and Mako Vunipola have already issued statements. of support for Jones.
In other developments:
- Exeter Chiefs chairman Tony Rowe has warned the RFU to approach rugby director Rob Baxter, who would appear as the standout candidate to replace Jones.
- Sport Telegraph understands that the review will take up to two weeks and that there is unlikely to be a knee-jerk reaction, with the head coach retaining the support of some key figures due to his past accomplishments.
- Sweeney is determined to conduct a thorough review and will bring in outside rugby expertise as well as Conor O’Shea as performance rugby director to hold Jones accountable for the team’s fifth place finish.
- RFU lost £ 2million in budgeted income after finishing fifth in the Six Nations, expecting to finish in the top two.
- England insisted they knew George Ford could have returned to play in the semi-final after Owen Farrell was pulled out with a head injury against Ireland but made a tactical choice to play scrum half Dan Robson instead.
- The national team slipped from second to fourth place in the latest world rankings.
- Prop Ellis Genge has escaped a quote for a clash with Jonathan Sexton.
The key question for the review, which is customary after each championship, will center on how an England team that reached the World Cup final and won the Six Nations and Nations Cup titles in fall has performed so poorly this year.
It is understood that Jones warned the RFU ahead of the tournament that he expected a year of transition. This challenge has been made more difficult by the strict social distancing guidelines put in place by the Rugby Football Union.
“It looks like the England camp has been under very strict Covid regulations compared to the Scottish, Irish and Welsh guys which made the situation really miserable for them,” said a source close to the players.
“Eight weeks of Six Nations is horrible anyway and always tough for guys who are away from home. At least normally you have a team room where you can hang out together and go out for coffee, which gives them a bit of freedom.
“Instead, they were in their rooms separately. Chuck in the results and that makes it even more difficult. There is no doubt that this has an impact on performance. ”
On Saturday Jones insisted he was still the right man to lead the recovery. His three Six Nations titles and his last World Cup appearance still weigh heavily in his favor. The same goes for the turnaround he made after losing six straight games in 2018. He retains the highest winning percentage (77) of any English coach.
However, after Jones conducts a review with his own coaching staff on Monday, he will have to explain the inconsistency in results, his loyalty to a core of underperforming players and the major disciplinary issues that led England to concede. 67 penalties.
England’s three defeats at the Six Nations mean it has fallen to fourth in the world rankings and would have fallen below Ireland in fifth place had it not been for Jonny May’s try in the 79th minute.