Eddie Jones: The Messiah of English Rugby?
I find it fitting that my first blog post follows England’s sensational Test Series win in Australia with a game to spare. England Saxons backed that up with a series win in South Africa and the U20’s are in the semi-final of the World Championships.
English rugby is seriously on the up.
Putting that into context, 9 months ago England Rugby could not have been any lower in the depths of despair. A dismal showing on the biggest stage of all and the laughing stock of World Rugby.
Enter Eddie Jones.
With a CV that boasts of the inception of Japanese Rugby onto the world stage, a World Cup final with Australia as well as coaching the first team outside of New Zealand to win the Super Rugby competition with the Brumbies. So the guy’s got the credentials.
I read an article recently stating that following Jones’ appointment as England Head Coach, he trawled through 6 months’ worth of each and every Premiership game. That’s serious. His work ethic is incredible. So much so that he had a stroke a few years back.
But looking back 9 months previous to the World Cup, the team isn’t a million miles different to what it is now. The squad consists much of the same players albeit with young blood coming through. The unstoppable Maro Itoje being one of very few new additions.
Jones instils a confidence rarely seen in the in an English rugby team. A confidence that allows individuals to truly express themselves more freely. Just look at the likes of James Haskell and the ever reliable goliath Chris Robshaw in the back row. Robshaw and Haskell have the potential to be the best in the world, overtaking their Australian counterparts Hooper and Pocock. Their display in Brisbane and Melbourne, Haskell’s monumental tackle count and Robshaw’s immense breakdown capabilities, epitomises their man of the match displays
But adding to this, Jones and England’s new look team of coaches have worked wonders on the set piece (just ask the Australian front row!) and their defence, especially following that colossal display in Melbourne. That second test truly exemplifies the work that has gone on behind the scenes – perhaps more so than any other game under the Australian coach. 8 wins from 8 and from 8th to 2nd in the IRB World Rankings. All this in the space of 9 months is undoubtedly a huge accomplishment.
If you’d have asked me on the back of that pool game against Australia back in September that England would be Test Series winners down under (with the potential to add a white wash I hasten to add) then I would have laughed in your face. A new era has certainly dawned. History has been made.
A Grand Slam and now the Test Series win is only the beginning for this new look England team. Remember, this was a team rebuilding for 2019, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that this a team reminiscent of old. The Woodward era. And we all know what happened there.
The Messiah of English rugby is here.