Eddie Jones defends England’s coaching style and staff turnover after criticism
Eddie Jones has defended his training methods and the high turnover of staff behind the scenes in response to criticism of his English regime.
A newspaper article published last week used anonymous accounts from players and former employees to paint a picture of a tense and demanding environment that lacks fun.
Jones has just finished rebuilding his coaching staff for the third time with his number two John Mitchell, the most recent departure after the former All Blacks boss left for the Wasps rather than continuing to oversee the defense .
Mitchell’s exit is the latest example of staff churn that has persisted since Jones took over in late 2015 with assistant coaches, physiotherapists, doctors, analysts and psychologists leaving at an alarming rate.
And while England had their worst Six Nations performance earlier this year finishing fifth, their head coach remains suspicious of his management style.
âThese things happen. Everyone has an opinion on how you operate. I can’t say it’s right or wrong, I’m trying to be a reasonable person, âJones told BT Sport.
âI coached for a good amount of time and there were probably times when I wasn’t as nice as I would like. But I try to be fair all the time and I’m excited about where this team is going to go.
“The only thing you can do is respond and the only way we will respond is play good rugby, which is what we intend to do.”
“Brutal” was one of the words used to describe the way Jones treats his staff, but the 61-year-old said: “I think the fact that I have been coaching since this time would indicate that this is not the truth .
âHas the staff turnover been high? There has been turnover in some areas where we have sought to refresh staff.
âThis is my sixth year in the job and you would expect your support staff to do it. I think we have a very good staff here and we appreciate their hard work.
Jones bristled when asked if he considered himself “old school.”
” No I will not. At all. And I don’t even know what that means. Some of the best old school coaches are the best, âJones said.
England have chosen an inexperienced squad that are missing several of their former guards such as Billy and Mako Vunipola and George Ford as Jones look to form a new squad in the Fall Nations Series.
Marcus Smith is seen as the player charting a new direction and for the first time Jones has confirmed that the 22-year-old will start at the opening, with captain Owen Farrell installed in the inside center.
The victim of Smith’s unstoppable rise is Ford, who has been magnificent for Leicester but has no part to play against Tonga, Australia and South Africa in the coming weeks.
âWe know George is a good player and we asked him to look at a few things in his game to make it better,â Jones said.
âHe does that and plays behind a dominant group of attackers at Leicester. He plays well. But we want to give Marcus and Owen the opportunity to play 10 and 12 to see where they can go and take our game.
“I think we have to get a lot more aggressive early on in receiving the ball and we can’t wait to find out what Marcus and Owen can do together.”
Despite the influence of Smith and Farrell, however, it is another player who is first on Jones’ scoresheet.
âSomeone who has done remarkably well for England is Tom Curry. Look at the way his game has been developed, âJones said.
âHe entered the squad on the last Lions tour in 2017 and since then he’s played six, seven and eight for us. I can really see his game evolve to another level.
âHe came in as a very strong defensive player, but I think he can really improve his attacking game now, as (former New Zealand captain) Richie McCaw did. There is no limit to where his game can go.
Winger Louis Lynagh has been recalled to the England squad for the fall, but scrum half Harry Randall suffers a hip injury and Alex Mitchell takes his place.