The Rugby Paper

Now RFU must sack Eddie’s ‘yes men’

- ■ By GARY FITZGERALD

THE RFU must ensure Eddie Jones ditches some of his backroom staff ‘yes men’ if they do decide to stick with him through to France 2023.

Former England star Kyran Bracken believes the Australian needs to bring in fresh faces to both his playing squad and his coaching set-up to avoid heading towards more World Cup heartbreak.

Bracken insists there are plenty of first class candidates who Twickenham bosses could lure to the highly-paid post but questions whether they are yet prepared to give Jones the axe despite an abysmal Six Nations.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney has promised a ‘full and honest debrief ’ in the wake of England’s three defeats in the tournament, declaring succession plans are in place if they decide to change the head coach. World Cup-winning scrum-half Bracken insists: “I have a feeling the people at the top of the RFU are not ready to hold him to account yet, and he will say give me another chance to turn things round.

“So we just have to back Eddie and hope for the best. But he does have to change some of his backroom staff and pick players who are on form in the Premiershi­p. We have some of the best players in the world and yet we don’t pick them.

“I feel the rugby fraternity is divided over the situation because in 2018 England came fifth in the Six Nations yet the the following year he got them to a World Cup final, which shows he has it in his capability to turn it around.

“The problem we all have is that it’s a bit like spin with him. It’s a bit like Jose Mourinho. Everybody hangs on his every word. There are a lot of young players who have not been given a chance. You look at France and others and see how they are trying to play the game.

“The biggest problem is that he has some ‘yes men’ in his backroom staff. When it comes to making decisions on the pitch they seem absolutely clueless.

“Overall, he’s got a good record but if you look at the history of his coaching career, it seems to be boom or bust, and that’s what we are seeing again. It seems the players are not listening to him and look lost on the pitch.

“Players are coming out and saying keep this coach but, of course, they will say that because he keeps picking them! It’s just not working at the moment.

“There are other great coaches out there. If it means it will cost us too much money to change the head coach then let’s all keep our fingers crossed. But if it can be done then there’s Rob Baxter, Mark McCall, Warren Gatland who could do a better job.

“We all thought England had turned the page with the way they attacked in that France game. It was the best game they had played since the World Cup semi-final and everyone got excited again. But then in Dublin they decide to just box kick the ball away and not have the ball. And this is where the problem lies.

“England don’t have belief in themselves to keep hold of the ball. They did not have the same intensity as the French game and just looked like they didn’t want to have the ball! At the moment they are a team of very talented individual­s but they are really struggling as a team coming together under this management.

“The likes of Sam Simmonds and Alex Dombrandt need to be given a chance while Marcus Smith should come in and disrupt this George Ford-Owen Farrell love affair. We need to try and bring some pace into the game like France have done.”

 ??  ?? Demand: Kyran Bracken
Demand: Kyran Bracken

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