Eddie Jones: England coach to meet RFU chiefs over recent poor form

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live rugby union reporter
Jones has our full support - RFU chairman

England coach Eddie Jones will meet with his bosses at Twickenham this week to prove he can arrest a sharp decline in form before the 2019 World Cup.

Saturday's victory against South Africa in Cape Town was only England's third win in nine games this year.

Jones retains the "full support" of the RFU, but will be questioned about how he plans to turn fortunes around.

"That's a question Eddie will be answering, no doubt," RFU chairman Andy Cosslett said.

"He has to go back now and make a report on the tour, and sit with the chief executive [Steve Brown] and explain where the plan goes from here," Cosslett added to BBC Sport.

"But we support Eddie and we back him. He's got an 80% win ratio and joined us when England were at their lowest ebb. He's done a fantastic job picking the team up and picking the country up.

"He has his interesting ways and it is certainly interesting working with Eddie, but he has our full support."

After losing twice to South Africa, England salvaged their tour with a convincing 25-10 third-Test victory over the Springboks at a sodden Newlands.

"We were thrilled, and I will pay tribute to the players and the coaching squad. They have been in a tough place and they really showed their mettle," Cosslett said.

"We definitely saw things [in Cape Town] that really make you feel good about the future."

However while backing Jones, Cosslett was unable to guarantee the Australian will be in charge of England at the World Cup, adding it was "not his decision" to make.

"The chief executive makes decisions like that," Cosslett explained.

"I'm the chairman of the board of directors. We would review a conversation if that was to take place, and we have had no such conversation."

Cosslett believes England's slump could be explained by the challenges of the past 12 months, with many players involved with the British and Irish Lions in 2017 before the testing tour of South Africa.

"This has been the most extraordinarily difficult year for a lot of the players playing for England," he added.

"I'm sure they are tired and they certainly deserve a break, and it's been a tough year for the coaching squad too.

"Everyone needs a good break, we need to have a good conversation taking stock of where we are, and we will come back refreshed."

Jones went 'a bit too far' with Craig barb

Cosslett also said Jones crossed the line in his public spat with Bath owner Bruce Craig.

Craig was critical of Jones' training methods - a handful of Bath players were injured when on international duty - and Jones called Craig the "Donald Trump of rugby", for which he later apologised.

It is understood relations between Jones and key figures at some Premiership clubs remain fraught after a testing period.

"We operate a very difficult model. When our game went professional in 1995 we created it in an unusual way which means there are a lot of people with a lot of opinions, and we have to play together and win together," Cosslett said.

"These are very successful individuals who have strongly held opinions, and you will occasionally have sparks.

"Eddie has apologised for maybe going a little bit too far to Bruce, but we just have to sit down and break bread and make sure we are respectful of each other's opinions.

"Sometimes you have to keep your eye on the big picture. Overall the relationships between clubs and England in my time have not been as strong as they are today."


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