Sir Clive Woodward slams RFU over ‘insensitive’ timing

David Skippers

England’s World Cup-winning head coach Sir Clive Woodward has criticised the RFU over the timing of the announcement of Eddie Jones’ new deal.

Jones, who has been England’s head coach since 2016, signed a new contract last week which will see him continue in his role until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

With most of the world struggling to come to terms with the Covid-19 crisis and with several of the game’s governing bodies and clubs facing financial ruin, Woodward does not understand the logic in announcing Jones’ contract extension during this time.

“With the game in lockdown, I don’t understand the timing,” he wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.

“Announcing that Eddie is to become the best-paid coach in history while other nations and clubs are on the verge of bankruptcy seemed insensitive, at best.

“That was a story that didn’t play out well in the current climate. There is going to be real hardship and rugby nations such as Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are struggling.”

Woodward also questioned the lack of scrutiny that Jones has faced since England suffered a heavy loss to South Africa in last year’s Rugby World Cup final in Japan.

“Was there analysis at the RFU as to why they played so poorly in the final or why they went to Japan with only two scrum-halves and five props?” he asked.

“Why was Joe Marler allowed to make a mockery of the press conference I attended in that final week? Who were the rugby celebrities coming and going from the camp and why did the team arrive at the stadium just 40 minutes before kick-off?”