Sir Clive Woodward: World Cup-winning coach says Eddie Jones has made England ‘unwatchable’

Colin Newboult

England’s Rugby World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward believes that the current side lack a spark, but he insists that the players are not the issue.

The Red Rose have struggled for form over the past couple of years and were once again disappointing in their 30-29 defeat to Argentina on Sunday.

There was a lack of imagination for the majority of the match and it wasn’t until Jack van Poortvliet came on did they finally inject some tempo into the game.

England’s style of play is in contrast to what is regularly seen in the Premiership and Woodward is adamant that Eddie Jones is getting it wrong.

Not maximising potential

“The players aren’t the problem. England’s playing pool is as good as anyone in the world. I could nit-pick about individuals but the fault here lies with the way they are coached and selected,” he wrote in his Daily Mail column.

“Too many players are being picked out of position. Maro Itoje is not a flanker and Owen Farrell is not a centre. Those guys are two of the best players in the world but England aren’t maximising their potential.

“I was Eddie’s biggest fan when he first came in but now it feels like he’s just trying to prove people wrong. He’s taking on the media, he’s taking on ex-players and it’s caught up with him.

“Someone needs to sit down with him and say, ‘What was that all about? This is just not acceptable’. Eddie needs to start listening.

“It’s a huge year for English rugby. He needs to look in the mirror and eat a big slice of humble pie. It’s time to admit that he’s got a lot of things badly wrong.

“Eddie got the selection badly wrong and the way England played was even worse.”

Woodward insists that England are currently “unwatchable” and says the team need to be far more proactive.

“England slowed the game down at every possible opportunity. They win a penalty, have a nice long chat about it and then walk over for a lineout. Get on with it and play! Tap penalties, snap drop goals and throwing in lineouts to yourself are all simple ways to dictate tempo but seem to be long forgotten,” he wrote.

“At every opportunity England slowed the game down. You cannot win doing this and, more importantly, the game is unwatchable.

“At every ruck, Ben Youngs was taking too long to pass the ball away. Those fractions of a second all add up. No team will win a World Cup at that pace. I watched New Zealand on Saturday and they played with so much more tempo. They would have annihilated England on Sunday.”

Criticism of the RFU

Woodward also believes that the governing body, the Rugby Football Union, are not doing their job properly by failing to “hold him to account.”

“Losing is part of the game. You are not always going to play brilliantly but there was not a single memorable moment from an England player, nor any sign of innovation, creativity or boldness — it was really poor,” he added.

“England were too slow. Eddie Jones is picking and coaching a team that just can’t play fast enough and there is no-one at the RFU who is remotely qualified to hold him to account. Argentina brought the intensity and credit to them on a historic victory.”

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