'Bleak state of affairs' for Eddie Jones

Radio Sport Staff,
Publish Date
Monday, 19 March 2018, 11:19AM
Where to now for England coach Eddie Jones after their third loss in a row. (Photo \ Getty Images)

England has some potentially very big issues facing Eddie Jones after England slumped to a fifth-placed finish in the Six Nations, their worst result since 1987.

Hargreaves says cracks have been appearing for while but had they had been papered over by earlier wins.

"It's a pretty bleak state of affairs. I think the biggest concern is that there are several problems.

"It's not as if there are one or two obvious things that need to be sorted, there are five or six things that have crept up on the team.

"Cracks have been appearing but because England kept on winning, we glossed over them and suddenly because they've gone on this [losing] streak it's really coming out to bear in a fairly dramatic manner."

Hargreaves says the biggest issue facing England is the breakdown and the penalty count, but Jones also needs to address the 'listlessness' and their toothless attack.

There have been issues raised with players' workloads, with several claiming the Lions' tour has unduly affected the English players.

England provided the bulk of the touring squad but Hargreaves says unlike Ireland and Wales who can rest their players, English clubs don't have that luxury.

"The only slight difference is the attritional nature of the Aviva Premiership. It's got very strong strength in depth, so rarely can you risk playing you're best players when they're available.

"The perfect example is Jonny Sexton has only played two 80 minute games of rugby for Leinster since the Lions tour, while [England opposite] Owen Farrell has played 16 80 minute matches for Saracens since the Lions tour.

"It's not an excuse but it is a factor."

However, with 18 months until the Rugby World Cup there is still time for Jones and England to turn their form around.



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