Eddie Jones concedes leadership is a slow-burning problem

England manager has no doubts he can turn around three-match losing streak

England coach Eddie Jones during the Six Nations defeat to Ireland at  Twickenham. “We are playing without our five top backrowers at the moment.” Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

England coach Eddie Jones during the Six Nations defeat to Ireland at Twickenham. “We are playing without our five top backrowers at the moment.” Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

 

Eddie Jones made Jacob Stockdale a record breaker. The England coach had a week to remember – there was the viral campaign and multiple apologies for jokingly branding Irish people “scummy” and Wales a “little shitty place” and there was the loss of touch judge Marius van der Weisthuizen because he spent time at Pennyhill Park training - but he also instructed the Twickenham ground staff to lengthen the dead ball area.

Stockdale gratefully accepted the gift of space.

“We wanted to play with bigger dead-ball areas, which we are quite allowed to under the laws. Everyone was aware of it.”

Back fired a little bit?

“Not really. Just part of the game.”

Always testy, and never one to roll over, the journalist must be ready for Jones’s razor-sharp tongue. Especially when wondering if he has any doubts about England turning this three-match losing streak around.

“No doubt, do you?”

The reporter is caught off guard, no Eddie.

“So we are both happy, we are all happy here boys. Every team has these runs. I’ve coach long enough to know this. Sometimes you get out of them quick and sometimes it takes a bit longer. It’s gone three games, it’s not nice, but it’s part of the process of becoming a better team. When you take over a team, like I did England, it is quite easy to improve them quickly because there is certain things you can go to and fix that quickly.

Internal mechanisms

“There are other internal mechanisms that take longer to fix. They are slow burners. If you don’t fix them they catch up to you when you get to the big tournament, the World Cup.”

Leadership is England’s major slow burning problem, Jones conceded.

“Some people are born leaders [Owen Farrell is referenced] others it takes a bit longer. It’s like being in a classroom; some kids get their maths tables quickly, some don’t. That’s a big area for us to get right. It does take time. We have spoken about leadership density on the field. That is a slow burner. You got to keep building that.

“We are playing without our five top backrowers at the moment. Lost a number of other players. Some guys have come in and done really well. Others are probably going to struggle to participate in the future.

“We have to get a greater depth in our squad, and a depth of players who can play Test rugby.”

Where are the English leaders – like coming Irish lieutenants James Ryan and Dan Leavy – or is the English structures broken from underage into clubs and over to the national squad?

“That’s not for me to answer. I think you all wrote about this in the 2015 World Cup. I don’t know why you are asking me these questions. I am only responsible for the national team.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.