Eddie Jones: England coach defends his credentials after Springbok defeat

Eddie Jones England coach v SA ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Eddie Jones England coach v SA ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

England head coach Eddie Jones defended his credentials after his team delivered a disappointing display en route to a 27-13 defeat in their Autumn Nations Series Test with South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

South Africa outscored their hosts by two tries to one with Kurt-Lee Arendse and Eben Etzebeth crossing the whitewash for the world champions while Henry Slade dotted down for England.

Springboks dominant despite red card

The Springboks were forced to play with 14 men during the final quarter after Thomas du Toit was red carded for a no-arms hit on Luke Cowan-Dickie but, despite that setback, the visitors held on for the win.

The match was reminiscent of the Boks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup final victory as they dominated for long periods and this defeat was England‘s sixth from 12 Tests in 2022, which is their worst return since 2008.

Despite his team’s poor form, Jones is adamant his side can still have a “really good go” at the 2023 World Cup in France.

“We want to win. We don’t want to get beat by a big score to South Africa and don’t want to have the worst record since 2008 so it is a problem but I accept full responsibility for that,” Jones said.

“Obviously on results we are not happy but I feel like we are building a really good base to have a really good go at the World Cup, a really good go.

“A number of young players got great experience today and they’ll come back better players for that. We’ve got other players coming back to form, some of our more senior players and we’re not far away.

“We need to develop consistently. Test match rugby is all about consistency.”

England’s performance were littered with errors with captain Owen Farrell missing two easy penalties early on while Freddie Steward had an off day as he was shaky under the high ball.

As expected, the Boks were strong up front and eventually overpowered their hosts, who now turn their focus to next year’s Six Nations campaign.

“We couldn’t get a foothold in the game and we’re unbelievably disappointed about that,” said Farrell.

“We felt good going into the game, felt sharp, felt together and felt like we knew what the plan was but we weren’t able to execute.

“We weren’t accurate enough in some bits and that was across the board. Obviously I played a role in that with the two missed easy kicks early on, so, yeah, we’re hurting.”

The match proved costly for England who lost the services of Will Stuart (elbow), Marcus Smith (ankle) and Kyle Sinckler (hip) to injury.

“It was just one of those days where nothing seemed to go right,” Jones admitted.

“It is a bit of a watershed game for us. We came into this game with high expectations of how we wanted to play on the back of New Zealand and Japan.

“If you look at the first three games, we have dominated territory and possession. If you look at this game, South Africa were a bit too tough in the air and a bit too tough at set-pieces so we know exactly where we need to improve.

“Selection wise we are moving in the right direction.”

South Africa came into this match under plenty of pressure as they were without suspended director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and although they had beaten Italy last weekend, they lost the first two Tests of the Autumn Nations Series against Ireland and France.

Special Bok victory

Captain Siya Kolisi said: “I told the guys we have to enjoy moments like this because we don’t know if we’re going to make it to the World Cup, it could have been some guys’ last games but I thought it was special.”

Head coach Jacques Nienaber added: “It’s a tough place to get a result. It is Siya’s first result here and obviously mine so very special.”

READ MORE: Autumn Nations Series: Springboks muscle past disappointing England at Twickenham

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