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Rugby: ‘Time to go’ – UK media call for Eddie Jones’ head after England hit 45-year low

England coach Eddie Jones. Photo / Photosport

Eddie Jones has come under fire from the UK media after England’s disastrous Six Nations campaign, where they will finish fifth in the tournament.

England fell to Ireland 32-18 in Dublin, meaning the 2019 World Cup finalists lost to each of their Triple Crown rivals (Ireland, Wales and Scotland) for the first time since the 1976 Five Nations.

Sir Clive Woodward, who led England to the World Cup title in 2003, stopped short of calling for Jones to step down but said the team was “going backwards” and fingers need to be pointed at the “all-powerful” coach.

“It’s time for Eddie Jones to look in the mirror, not the window,” Woodward wrote in a column on the Mail on Sunday. “Somebody at the RFU — although I’m not sure who is qualified to do so — needs to ask some sharp questions of him. There is no respected rugby ‘brain’ asking the difficult questions.

“What’s going on? Why have England just finished fifth in the Six Nations, one place above Italy? Why have England produced only one decent performance in this tournament? Why are England Six Nations also-rans? Why is the England team not reflective of the fantastic talent we see every week in the Premiership?”

Even more worryingly for Jones, it is the second time in four campaigns that England had finished fifth in the Six Nations.

Ireland's Jack Conan scores a try against England. Photo / Photosport
Ireland’s Jack Conan scores a try against England. Photo / Photosport

The Times’ Stuart Barnes went one step further, saying it was time for Jones to go.

“When England lose the collision contest, they lose the game. They win more than they lose because they have a huge number of powerful forwards. In essence Jones has created a team that must bully opposition to have their way.

“Sexton quietly proved his doubters wrong. I will admit I thought his end was approaching, but his previous two performances have been immaculate. He has catapulted himself right into contention for the British & Irish Lions. He has been peerless, cool behind the white-hot furnace of a pack pulled back from the brink of being uncompetitive by Paul O’Connell, the forwards coach.

“The fly-half is one of the great 10s of the last decade. O’Connell is an Irish rugby immortal on the field. He appears destined for greatness as a coach. One coach rises, another should fall.

“It is Jones’s team. It is his fault. Time to go.”

Former England fly half Andrew Goode also called for Jones’ head, tweeting: “Eddie out Baxter in please.”

However, one of England’s stars Maro Itoje defended Jones and insisted that it is on the players to perform better.

Itoje says Jones retains the support of the dressing room, telling PA: “Eddie is a fantastic coach.

“He’s one of the best coaches I’ve worked with – his work-rate, his knowledge, his feeling with the players, the way he goes about his business – are genuinely second to none.

“As players, we need to be accountable for our behaviours. At the end of the day, Eddie can’t play the game for us.

“The players need to be accountable and if you ask any player who has been under Eddie, I doubt anyone will say differently. He’s a truly special coach. It’s just on us.

“We’re not displaying the best of the team at the moment, but I genuinely believe we’ve got one of the best coaches in the world.”

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