Sir Clive Woodward: Eddie Jones ‘a shadow’ of the coach he used to be

Jared Wright
Former England head coach Eddie Jones

Sir Clive Woodward says Eddie Jones is a shadow of the coach he competed with following the Australian’s departure as England’s head coach.

Woodward famously beat Jones’ Wallabies team in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final and hasn’t pulled any punches in his summation of his former competitor’s tenure as England boss.

Jones distracted

The 66-year-old believes that Jones was too focused on the Rugby World Cup and added that he is a shadow of the coach he competed against in 2003. 

“I am always sorry to see people lose their job, but Eddie Jones has been badly distracted since the last World Cup, and he’s paid the price,” Woodward wrote in his Daily Mail column.

“He is a much better coach than he has shown over the past three years. He is a shadow of the Jones I competed with and whose first years with England were so successful and rightfully applauded.

“He became completely focused on the 2023 World Cup, and that was a costly error.

“International rugby is very simple: focus everything on the next game with absolutely zero distractions. The fans who pump the money into the sport didn’t buy his hype.”

What will Jones’ legacy be?

Woodward says that Jones will be remembered for his unfulfilled promises more than for his glory days.

“What will Jones’ legacy be? The semi-final victory over New Zealand at the 2019 World Cup was his best performance, but unfortunately, he will be remembered for the misguided rhetoric and unfulfilled promises.

“I don’t think history will remember this period of English rugby too kindly.”

Support for Borthwick

Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick is believed to be Jones’ successor, a decision that Woodward welcomes but adds that he must be able to select his backroom staff.

“If it is Steve Borthwick who comes in then we’ve all got to get behind him and I wish him all the best.

“I hope they don’t just pick him because he’s an Englishman. I hope they pick him because they think he’s the best coach in the world,” Woodward added.

“He must be allowed to bring in his own coaching team, and if I was him I would definitely bring Kevin Sinfield over from Leicester.”

“The players will have a second chance, and there is enough talent out there to go and win next year’s World Cup,” Woodward added.

 READ MORE: How Eddie Jones and Wayne Pivac’s win ratios stack up to their rivals