Gulf Today

England rugby chiefs back Jones ater Six Nations review

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LONDON: England head coach Eddie Jones retains the “full support” of the Rugby Football Union following a review into the team’s disappoint­ing fifth- place finish in the 2021 Six Nations.

Defending champions England beat a strong France side and Italy but suffered defeats against Scotland, eventual winners Wales and Ireland.

Jones, the best-paid coach in world rugby, last year agreed a contract extension with the RFU through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which is understood to contain a break clause.

But English rugby chiefs reaffirmed their support for the 61-year-old Australian on Tuesday.

“The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has concluded a debrief of the England men’s Six Nations 2021 campaign confirming its full support and backing of Eddie Jones as head coach, while recognisin­g a sub-optimal campaign and the factors that contribute­d to it,” read the RFU statement.

The debrief panel included RFU board members, executives and independen­t experts and received feedback from players, coaches and support staff as well as Jones.

The review highlighte­d a number of factors that contribute­d to England’s poor campaign including stringent coronaviru­s protocols, which had a “significan­t impact on coaching and support staff as well as the playing squad cohesion”.

It made a number of recommenda­tions including additional refereeing input to tackle England’s discipline issues and more streamline­d use of data.

“Our track record and results under Eddie meant that we, the players and our fans had much higher expectatio­ns,” said RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney.

“Eddie approached this review with a great deal of self-awareness and humility, allowing us to look at every aspect of the tournament to identify every small change we can make in order to improve.”

Jones, who has won three Six Nations crowns with England, admited the team had let their standards slip in 2021 but he remained upbeat.

“We all learned a lot from the experience and most importantl­y we have identified actions to enable the team to move forward positively towards 2023,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones announced on Tuesday that he has signed a one-year contract extension with the Welsh Rugby Union and Pro 14 side Ospreys.

Jones, 35, led Wales to the Six Nations title last month and is favourite to skipper the British and Irish Lions in South Africa on their 2021 tour.

Writing on his Instagram account, Jones said: “Earlier this year, I extended my contract with the Welsh Rugby Union and the Ospreys. I am really pleased to have done so and to continue my career with my region.

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England rugby coach Eddie Jones has full backing of the RFU despite the Six Nations debacle.
File ↑ England rugby coach Eddie Jones has full backing of the RFU despite the Six Nations debacle.

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