- Sep 20, 2011
- Country Flag
- Club or Nation
I think it's interesting to note who the comments come from...
In a rugby environment, there can be one leader, who commands full respect and control, that being EJ. He'll have his "generals" etc, and try to get the team working as he sees is best, but he's in charge. Now Mike Brown doesnt exactly strike me as a man with total respect for authority, and certainly could hold a chip on his shoulder, particularly for the way he was brutally cut from the squad. He says about challenging EJ, but also from what I heard Hask comment on it, and he's again getting this from inside info as he wasnt in the camp, you dont challenge and have a go at your Head Coach in front of everyone else, that shows a total lack of respect and will not go down well. I also think EJ saw him phasing in Daly at this point anyway
Regarding working players hard, Itoje said it well too, great players want to be pushed, to reach their limits, and see how good they can be. EJ pushes them, but a lot of Enlgand insiders talk about how good he is as a man manager for the most part, to get the best out of his players.
Jones is 100% a control freak, going through scenarios in his head endlessly, a bit like Ana Taylor Joy in Queens gambit may be a good reference (though hopefully without the pills), but that doesnt make him a bad coach. he demands excellence of himself, and can therefore also demand it of his players. If he didnt, then he'd have a lot less respect. If there's any issues in camp, I'd suggest there are people able to talk about it, and EJ would rather hear about it than just be unknowing, though again strikes me as intelligent enough to see it himself
Maybe its just a hard rugby camp he runs, and if you cant handle it, you shouldnt be an international. Professional rugby isnt a game for someone who doesnt have that fire in them to compete
Brown is the latest example, I'm talking about over his career. He was the same with Australia and Japan. Also it's not just players, he churns through support staff too. That isn't just a case of "well you need to put up with it to be an international", the success of other international sides without doing that shows that quite clearly is not true at all.
If Jones really is a good man manager and getting the best out of his players then why are they performing so poorly? One of the things they teach at any level is you simply cannot go at it 100% all the time as you burn out. There is a difference between pushing players and staff and burning them out completely. Jones argued it was to improve fitness yet under him we went from always winning the final quarter to virtually never winning it, relying on an ability to get ahead and stay ahead rather than claw anything back, which we used to be able to do when he first arrived. Where is this improved fitness? He's said he wanted to play heads up rugby, where is that? England have had most success running attacks off strike moves from set piece, we have barely developed our attack in open play or off turnover. Since he has been in charge our defence has been getting worse, we are conceding more points and more penalties and it's on a downwards trend, not one that is being fixed. Our ability to score points is on a downwards trend... Is there actually any tangible area of continuous improvement under Jones? Something we can point at now and say that is clearly better than it was before? At the moment all I can think of is our flankers, and that was down to us having a rich vein of flanker talent available rather than Jones.
All of the improvements under Jones were most visible in the first 2 years where we genuinely were a fit side with generally good discipline, rock solid defence and were a real pain in the arse to beat. We were also the comeback kings who couldn't be written off until the game was finished. The "finishers" tag actually seemed to have some merit as they performed a distinct set purpose of upping the tempo at the end rather than simply replacing those on the field. Jones would trust them to finish the job. Now? None of that applies any more. What have we replaced it with?