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The case for Eddie Jones.

Given that the Rust has been one of the most trenchant critics of England coach Eddie Jones you may be surprised by the title of this post.

Of course the RFU are reluctant to sack him for financial reasons but – despite his many faults and failures – a case can be made to retain him till the World Cup next year in France.

There are three on the shortlist to replace him but each carries a rugby warning.

Scott ‘Razor’ Robertson performed wonders with the Crusaders but he has little experience of English rugby and is the obvious replacement for the beleaguered All Black Coach Ian Foster.

Similarly Ronan O’Gara has done really well, winning the Heineken Cup for La Rochelle, but twice his vocal criticism of referees have resulted in lengthy touch line bans.

Finally there is Englishman Steve Borthwick, who again has succeeded at club level with Leicester Tigers, but I am reliably informed his obsessiveness can grate.

So there is no obvious replacement.

Rob Baxter at Exeter Chiefs is on the board there and has therefore holds a strong position, whilst Andy Farrell seems content at Ireland.

Then there are the players.

Jones has not helped by selecting so many out of position but the squad looks deficient in key areas.

Twice the front row has been comprehensively out-scrummaged by South Africa, Jonny Hill looked ineffectual at lock.

Behind the scrum we are are weak at centre. Scrum half is still a worry and the issues as to whether you can play both Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell remains unresolved.

Thirdly, there is the RFU.

Chief Executive Bill Sweeney was roasted by the Digital Sports and Arts Select Committee under Chairman Julian Knight, though personally I think it was unfair to blame him for Worcester’s and Wasps woes.

Nonetheless it is not an organisation fit for purpose.

I would conclude by saying if England limp into the World Cup after disastrous autumn internationals and successive poor Six Nations they are helped by France, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa being the other side of the draw.

It may well be that Argentina is the toughest team they face.

Talking of face, Eddie Jones’ would be saved if England can reach the Final, allowing him to pick up another lucrative gig, and have a more measured recruitment process to identify his replacement.

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About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts