Jordan Fenton talks about how England’s reign under Eddie Jones has taken them from zeros to heroes
After triggering a national devastation by failing to progress further than the pool stages in their home Rugby World Cup (RWC), England called upon Eddie Jones to revive hope.
Whilst coaching Japan, Jones became internationally recognised for causing one of the biggest upsets in rugby history after securing Japan’s first ever win against South Africa in the 2015 RWC. Since then, he has taken England from strength to strength, winning England’s first 6 Nations Grand Slam since 2011, and their first ever clean sweep of an Australian tour series.
In early November, Eddie made a statement by beating the Springboks in front of a home crowd for the first time in ten years. The English followed this up the next week by proving too much for the flying Fijians, who failed to fly high enough, allowing England to punish them 58 points to 15. The Red Roses also made easy work of the Argentinians, making the Pumas look more like the pussy cats, despite playing nearly a full match with only 14 players. Most recently, the Twickenham boys once again denied the Wallabies an opportunity to bounce back and redeem themselves following the Australian Tour. This grudge match looked threatening to Jones’s winning streak being 3 points behind at half time; but England’s outstanding defence and capitalisation of Australia’s mistakes saw them walking away with their fourth consecutive victory against the Aussies.
“England’s outstanding defence and capitalisation of Australia’s mistakes saw them walking away with their fourth consecutive victory.”
This brings the squad up 6 places in international rankings from last year, currently ranking as the 2nd best international team behind New Zealand. To further display Jones’ revolutionary revival of English rugby, with 13 wins on the trot, England begin to intimidate the Kiwis recently set world record of 18 consecutive international wins.
So what is it that our saviour, Eddie Jones, has done to turn England from zeros to heroes? Since winning the Aviva Premiership in the 2015-2016 season, the backbone of English rugby has predominantly been Saracens players. These include the likes of Jamie George, Maro Itoje, the Vunipola brothers and Owen Farrell to name a few. Eddie has recognised that Farrell’s magic boots are able to convert a penalty into 3 points more often than not, and this has become a pivotal factor to the English game plan.
“Needless to say, its electrifying to see how far England have come in under a year”
Previous England coach, Stuart Lancaster, sought his players to be permanently professional and uniform, but Jones encouraged the players to come out of their shells and express their personalities. This has allowed each player to play more to their individual strengths, as well as creating a more fluent and natural style of play. Following Lancaster’s resignation, Jones stated that England “needed a bit of a change [mentally]…” and suggested that the squad’s lack in mental strength was the reason behind their premature exit from the World Cup. To help enforce this change, Jones took a risk by making the notoriously short-tempered, yet big character, Dylan Hartley the squad’s captain over Chris Robshaw.
Needless to say, it’s electrifying to see how far England have come in under a year, and how quickly they have been able to turn around. But according to Eddie this is only the start of the journey, and he expects to continue seeing big things from the Boys in White. His next goals of becoming the number 1 ranked side in the world and winning the 2019 World Cup prove he has faith in England to take over world rugby.