they were this bad?
For only the third time since the competition expanded to the Six Nations, England ended up losing three games, this years competition has echos of the one in 2006, which a year later brought a World Cup final.
It’s almost like for like the 2006 and 2018 campaigns. England finish with two victories, against Wales and Italy, and three losses to Scotland, France and Ireland. The home and away fixtures are the same as well.
Though the final table had a different look to it, with England finishing fifth this time – their lowest finish since before the expansion, lowest in over 30 years – compared to fourth in ’06.
But the other comparable point is the following year in World Cup year.
In 2007 England had a slightly better Six Nations campaign, a 3-2 record and third place. They followed this up by reaching the World Cup final in Paris that autumn.
Of course by the time that ’07 Six Nations came around there was a different man in charge from the ’06 debacle. Dull Andy Robinson being replaced, after losing yet more games, by Brian Ashton. Now I know in the last rugby post I was talking about it being a sacking offence losing to the Jocks and Jones followed that up with the shambles in France, where his answer to the troubles with the pack and at the breakdown was to change the fullback, from one that worked to one that didn’t – expertly highlighted by the first high ball the Irish humped into the air and Watson fumbled.
But that was just lowing off some steam after that real embarrassment and then two more followed. No it wasn’t embarrassing losing to Ireland but the was England played in that defeat was just so typical and so poor that you have to wonder if Jones is a get ’em up and firing in the first couple of years and then it wains after that type of coach.
One thing he hasn’t been able to do is get them thinking for themselves. Brian Ashton tried it but it didn’t work back then either. They’re still to structured, going with the game-plan, sticking to what they’ve been drilled to do at every situation. So you know another useless box-kick is coming to give away possession.
At least for the Ireland game Jones realised that playing George Ford just wasn’t working but it never really has, results have just masked his flouncy presence , it’s a bit look who was there in ’06, I mean Charlie Hodgson second coming.
Jones went from looking like he knew all the answers to looking like he had about as much of a clue as his players. The dropping of Brown for Watson was just bizarre. It wasn’t the area that needed fixed, it was almost as if Eddie had listened too much to the media, who don’t seem to like Brown, and dropped the player because they kept saying he was Eddie’s favourite.
Or was it all just fatigue? Well, England do seem to do worst of all after a Lions tour but how many more games did they play the previous two seasons when winning the title and losing one game in the process? Was it that much different?
And how many stupid penalties did they give away during that unbeaten run at the start of Jones’ tenure, you know they probably gave up more penalties in these last three games than in that run of 18 unbeaten combined. But then Jones goes and brings Dan Cole on…
He has said that some have played their last game for England… but does he mean the right ones won’t be featuring again… the right players picked, in the right spots and it would be very easy for England to emulate that side in ’07 in reaching the World Cup final, I mean they were useless in actually getting there, bar one game.