Jones plays dead bat to controversial offside call
Coach says team ‘will take a lot’ from performance
England refused to be drawn into the television match official controversy in which a potentially match-winning try by Sam Underhill five minutes from time was ruled out for offside, enabling New Zealand to hold on for a 16-15 victory at Twickenham.
South African TMO Marius Jonker decided that Courtney Lawes was offside when charging down New Zealand scrum-half TJ Perenara.
“Sometimes the game loves you, sometime the game doesn’t love you,” said England head coach Eddie Jones. “If the TMO can’t make the right decision with 10 replays then who can? You have got to accept that if you stay in the fight long enough, the game will love you. We’re prepared to stay in the fight so we will get some love further down the track, don’t worry.”
Not surprisingly, New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen thought it was a good call. “There is no doubt he was offside,” said Hansen. “He was just about in the half-back’s back pocket. What was going through my mind was, are they going to be brave enough to make the decision? And they were.”
Jones took heart from the conviction and energy of his side’s performance. “We’re obviously devastated but we’ll take a lot from that,” said Jones. “We had opportunities to win. We didn’t take them, they did, so they deserved to win. It was a really good step forward because you benchmark yourself against New Zealand.
“We have got to fix things and if we do that we are on the way to being the best in the world, which we always set out to be. New Zealand couldn’t break us. In fact, we finished stronger. If we’d kept going for another five minutes, we would’ve got them.”
Jones had no issue with his team twice opting to go for a penalty line-out rather than kick for goal in the latter stages. “The players feel the game. We don’t feel the game, we see the game. Otherwise, why do we want leaders in the team?” he said.
“We felt we had the ascendancy at the time,” said Owen Farrell, captain on the field. “Our maul had gone very well in the first half and our boys were itching to have a crack at them.”