If England manager Eddie Jones feels he has been scrutinized before, the next 18 months before the World Cup will take him to the next level.
For the second year in a row, England won only two matches in the Six Nations, but I don’t want to talk about the head coach, because it’s not just about him.
If the whole of next year is devoted to Eddie Jones, England will have no chance of winning the World Cup.
I’m not sure it was appropriate to sign him for another four years immediately after the 2019 World Cup, but it’s done.
The English Rugby Football Union delayed him for four years and once that happened, the manager would have to be monumentally bad not to go through with it.
While I don’t think England are maximizing their current player base, I’m not sure the recent slump in form guarantees that Eddie Jones won’t be in the World Cup.
I know people are talking about how Rassi Erasmus became the head coach of South Africa 18 months before they became world champions in Japan, but it was unique. I would be surprised if anything changed in the England coaching staff ahead of the 2023 tournament.
It’s going to be a tough year for Eddie. If he bites his tongue and does not give his usual witticisms, he will make life easier for himself.
We don’t need to hear if England is the favorite or the underdog, what he thinks of the opposition.
I kind of understand where he came from because he feels like it’s his way of taking attention away from the players, but I’m not sure if that’s the case.
We just need less from Eddie Jones.
“Players can’t keep putting up with things”
I do not think that all hopes for the World Cup are lost. I have seen enough in this England team to think that they have a chance, but not everything depends on the managers.
It’s not as easy as saying that the England managers were wrong and we have great players.
Some of the players on this team must realize at some point that this is their chance to be part of a World Cup winning team.
If they don’t raise their hand in camp, disagreeing with things to push for change, then they will lose the opportunity to win the World Cup.
They cannot drift for a year unless they agree with the coaches. They need to say ‘we shouldn’t play like this’ and challenge the coaches in a way that they can do it on the pitch.
At the moment you feel like they are going along with things and admittedly in the past we have seen players who have doubts about managers have been ejected.
The problem is that England has been the same for 10 years – pulling the show out of the bag only when it was up against it.
They did it against Ireland when they were 14 down and they got something in the last 20 minutes against France.
This is not Eddie Jones, it was under his predecessor, Stuart Lancaster.
What we saw in Paris was exactly how England trained this week – whether they used Ellis Jenge’s backfield support, their footwork, or planned three or four phase sets in turns.
England are world class in the execution of plans, but if you suddenly break through the line and do 40m, you will have an opponent on the stand and you will have to finish them off.
Completion of such movements is a personal responsibility. Only in the last 20 minutes in Paris did the “if we don’t change anything, we lose the game” mentality kick in. I expected this from the first minute.
“Methodical learning leads to frustrating play”
There is so much to do to get the England players to take the lead on the field, I’m not entirely sure it all depends on what’s going on in the England team.
I think it has to do with club rugby and the methodical approach to teaching young players the game. If you don’t play strictly by the rules, then you are an “individualist”, like the Scottish fly-half-finn Russell, and there is nothing in between.
If you look at France, the All Blacks or South Africa at the last World Cup, they have players who can play within, but when it comes to play you can also see the big names who know when they need something. change.
We could see it on Saturday. After 30 minutes, the French players felt the England defense was spreading across the field because they were so wary of the hosts’ wide attack that France just went right through the gaps and England panicked, huddled, and then the hosts went wide to score.
This is opposition manipulation and I don’t see it in England. It’s frustrating.
‘England needs ball handlers like Vunipolas’
One thing that Eddie Jones can’t justify is selection. Greatness comes with perseverance and success, and there was not much of any of these six nations in England.
Freddie Steward is a consistent performer with a great skill set and a fantastic understanding of the game.
But it’s very hard to win games when your superstars are on the wing and George Furbank is suddenly a cornerback. You must constantly keep your superstars on their toes.
England looked easy ahead compared to France.
We need to have ball handlers like Mako and Billy Vunipola so we can build an English team like the one that made it to the 2019 World Cup final.
The return of flanker Sam Underhill has been exciting and hopefully he can reunite with an injured Tom Curry in the back row then they need a big number eight who can really carry – that could be Alex Dombrandt.
England need Maro Itoye’s partner in the second row because he can’t do everything himself. Courtney Lowes could move to lock up.
Hooker could potentially be a problem, but it could be resolved when Luke Cowan-Dickey returns from injury.
“The World Cup will be a tournament in 2023”
Obviously England have a lot of work to do but they played in one of the most hostile places in the world against a really good French team.
It was a magical night for the hosts and they fully deserve the Grand Slam.
The 2023 World Cup in France will be amazing. The Stade de France was in warm-up mode for the World Cup on Saturday night and it was very smooth.
It will be a sports tournament in 2023 and I think France is the favorite to win.
But New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and England may also have a chance, making the next 18 months really exciting.
The French team has timed its rise to perfection and the fans feel it. Next year will be special for sure.
Matt Dawson spoke to Becky Gray of BBC Sport.