England manager defends his credentials after Springbok defeat

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

England manager Eddie Jones defended his credentials after his side put in a disappointing performance en route to a 27-13 Autumn Nations Series test defeat to South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

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

Springboks dominant despite red card

The Springboks were forced to play with 14 men going into the final quarter after Thomas du Toit was ejected for an armless 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, who they have dominated for long periods and this defeat was England’s sixth out of 12 tests in 2022, their worst comeback since 2008.

Despite his side’s poor form, Jones is adamant his side can still make a “very good try” at the 2023 World Cup in France.

“We want to win. We don’t want to be beaten by a big score in South Africa and we don’t want to have the worst record since 2008, so that’s a problem, but I accept full responsibility for that,” said Jones.

“Obviously with regards to the results we are not happy, but I feel that we are building a very good basis to have a very good attempt at the Worlds, a very good attempt.

“A number of young players had great experience today and better players will come back for that. We have other players who are returning to form, some of our older players and we are not far off.

“We have to constantly develop. Test match rugby is a matter of consistency.”

England’s performance was littered with mistakes with captain Owen Farrell missing two easy early penalties, while Freddie Steward had a bad day as he was shaky under the high ball.

As expected, the Boks were strong up front and eventually overpowered the hosts, who are now focused on next year’s Six Nations campaign.

“We haven’t been able to get a foothold in the game and we’re incredibly disappointed by it,” said Farrell.

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

“We weren’t precise enough in places and that was across the board. Obviously I played a part in that with the two easy wrong kicks early on so, yeah, we’re suffering.

The match proved costly for England as they 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’s a bit of a watershed game for us. We went into this game with high expectations of how we wanted to play behind New Zealand and Japan.

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

“As far as selection is concerned, we are moving in the right direction.”

South Africa went into this game under a lot of pressure as they were without suspended director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and although they beat Italy last weekend, they lost the first two tests of the Autumn Nations series against Ireland and France.

Bok’s special victory

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

Coach Jacques Nienaber added: “It’s difficult to get a result. It’s Siya’s first result here and obviously mine is very special.”

READ MORE: Autumn Nations Series: Springboks overcome disappointing England at Twickenham

The article Eddie Jones: England manager defends his credentials after Springbok defeat first appeared on Planetrugby.com.

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