For all the games England have won under Eddie Jones, the weekend performance in their loss to Scotland was so abysmal I would be tempted to give him his marching orders.
The utter shambles of that embarrassment trumps the two Six Nations titles and the run of unbeaten games, no it’s not an over the top reaction to one result, what have you done for me lately. It’s losing by a record Six Nations margin to the Jocks, by being thoroughly outplayed and out fought.
It’s a national disgrace.
The thing is it look from the very start of this tournament that England were looking ahead to the Ireland game as the Grand Slam decider and not looking at what was in front of them.
They always seem to face Italy at the start when the Azzuri are fresh and raring to go, before the growing realisation of another series of winning nowt grows on them. By the end they’re down to bare bones player wise and so demoralised that they might as well not turn up. England do pay attention to the Taffs but that’s the animosity thing but even then their attention is really elsewhere.
The problem with facing the Jocks is these days that animosity has gone. They’ve spent the last couple of decades racking up cricket scores against the kilted heathens – it doesn’t matter what part of the world you come from, Scotland will find a tartan for you – the Auld Enemy is no more, with Wales taking their place.
So England went out there thinking… meh, Jocks, piece of piss and got their trousers taken down.
The Scots think they won the game, they didn’t. This was England losing, by doing every dull, inept thing they do that creates the type of frustration in fans that was missing from my point of view in this game. From the very off, as soon as I saw how they approached the first few phases of play I knew England were going to lose, so I could just sit back, relax and watch the game.
The breakdown is the most important part of the game these days, far more than scrums and the like. England’s approach is bizarre. They’re so slow to get to the breakdown and so weak when they get there, it’s almost as if they haven’t worked on it at all, ever.
Lumber up to the breakdown after leaving the runner isolated, they crowd round when the ball is just there and any of them could pick it up and go because the defence isn’t there. They wait until the scrum half arrives because he’s the only one that can touch the ball and the defence has got themselves organised. Now when Ben Youngs went down against Italy I figured that was the best thing for England. Youngs is so slow and ponderous getting to and getting the ball away from rucks it was a plus him not being available for selection. But what is it with Care? When he starts a game he’s just another Youngs. When he comes on as a sub, he’s fast in there and fast getting the ball away.
So while he’s dithering about whether he’s going to play the ball or not the forwards are looking about not really paying attention. So the opposition pile over, England are driven back and either lose the ball or give up a penalty. The amount of times England are successfully counter-rucked is embarrassing, they never seem able to do it to other teams, well not without conceding a penalty – but maybe that’s just the refs, don’t get me started on them, well a little. Commentators and media should revert to just calling them refs and stop using their names, it’s not about the officials, they shouldn’t be treated like stars.
And nine times out of ten when the ball is moved from the ruck it’s via a box kick. Is there anything more useless in the world than an England box kick? Well, England’s kicking from hand in open play, that would be close.
When England came out for the second half, Care got to the breakdown quickly and got the ball out as soon as he arrived, it led to Farrell’s try. If they’d played like that from the start, it wouldn’t have ended in the humiliation it did. But even then they couldn’t keep it that going.
As for Eddie Jones, he’s done some good things but I’ve never felt he was going to lead England to ultimate glory at the World Cup, not as long as he keeps picking For at 10. Any decent side can run through Ford, he is a weak link in both directions.