The Rugby Football Union’s statement that England made ‘solid progress’ during Six Nations is “not fair,” says former wing member Hugo Monnier.
England have won just two matches for the second straight league and have scored fewer tries than they did in 2021.
“I want to know who in the RFU thinks this means progress and is happy with the way things are,” Monnier told reporters. Rugby Union Daily Podcast.
“Basically, it’s just not fair. There is no progress.”
Head coach Eddie Jones, 62, has faced calls to step down after England finished third behind 25-13 loss to Grand Slam champions France.
An unnamed RFU spokesman said the Australian was “building the new England squad on a clear strategy” and “continues to give Eddie his full support.”
The spokesperson went on to say that a “full review” would be carried out “as usual after each tournament”.
“The RFU is trying to divert media attention away from Eddie Jones,” said former Wales captain Sam Warburton.
“It’s not fair. No one but Italy will consider two victories as progress. For England, this is definitely not progress.”
Monier said that someone in power in the RFU should have put their name on the statement and taken responsibility for England’s “unacceptable” six nations.
He also said that he was “sad for some of the players” because they weren’t moving in the right direction.
“With financial support, a pool of players and a coaching staff, you cannot win two out of five matches two years in a row. This is terrible, unimaginable, unacceptable,” he said.
“England talks about showing great spirit and fighting Ireland and France, but you expect that to be the starting point. They were miles behind France.”
“England does not respect the six nations”
Jones has regularly stated that he views England’s defeats as a learning experience for young players, referring to the World Cup in France in 2023, but Warburton said that England did not give the Six Nations adequate attention.
“Now it’s not about the World Cup, it’s about the Six Nations,” he said in a BBC Two rugby special.
“It’s an amazing tournament and it’s disrespectful to say, ‘We’re getting ready for the World Cup next year.’ It’s about winning the Six Nations at all costs. I don’t like this talk of buying time.”
The former British and Irish Lions captain said he was baffled by England’s demise given their talent.
“Winning the World Cup semi-finals against New Zealand in 2019 was probably England’s best performance yet I don’t know how they are now so far away from that,” he added.
“They have to dominate physically and be strong in set pieces. They have great players like Marcus Smith and Harry Randall and they should be a brilliant team but I don’t know why they have regressed so far.”
“They are way behind what they were at the 2019 World Cup.”
Former Scotland captain John Barclay questioned England’s strategy and whether the return of injured players such as captain Owen Farrell, Johnny May, Anthony Watson and Manu Tuilagi would solve the team’s problems.
“Eddie Jones said he wanted to unleash the expansive and attacking look of rugby,” he said. “They have to play amazing rugby, but what will these players add to the team if there is no system?
“England are hacking and changing, they’re changing their style of play and it’s not working at the moment.”
|Saturday 5 February: Lost 20-17 to Scotland (A)|
|Sunday 13 February: 33-0 win over Italy (A)|
|Saturday 26 February: W v Wales 23-19 (h)|
|Saturday 12 March: Lost to Ireland 32–15 (H)|
|Saturday 19 March: Lost 25-13 v France (A)|
High to Low – Jones’ record in the Six Nations
- Jones took over as head coach in November 2015 and led England to a Grand Slam in his first six nations.
- In 2017, he was in charge of another title as his team’s 18-match unbeaten streak ended in the final game of the tournament against Ireland.
- England finished fifth in the 2018 Six Nations.
- They finished as runners-up in 2019 and later that year reached the final of the World Cup in Japan but lost to South Africa.
- The Australian has been awarded a new four-year deal to take England to the 2023 World Cup.
- After winning the 2020 Six Nations tournament which ended in October due to disruptions caused by Covid-19, England finished fifth in 2021.
- England finished third in 2022 after winning just two matches for the second year in a row.