Jones regrets not picking fresher line-up for final

LONDON • England coach Eddie Jones has admitted that he got his team selection wrong for the Rugby World Cup final on Nov 2 and should have brought in fresh legs to face South Africa.

He fielded the same starting 15 that had stunned defending champions New Zealand in the semi-final but England were unable to cope with the Springboks’ physicality and lost 32-12 in Yokohama.

“If there’s one thing I could have done differently it was probably to have changed the selection a little bit,” Jones told Sky Sports.

“I continued to change selection from game to game (during the tournament) and probably in hindsight I should have refreshed the squad.

“I’m not going to talk about individuals but maybe I should have changed the order of 23.”

The 59-year-old has a contract with England until 2021 and Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney has said the Australian would be offered the chance to continue for the full four-year cycle up to the 2023 World Cup in France.

But Jones, who will be in charge of the Barbarians for the invitational side’s match against Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday, was reluctant to discuss where his future might lie.

“There’s all sorts of stories at the moment – about going to France, Fiji, but it’s not really my decision, coaches have to perform and that’s the only thing I am worried about,” he added.

Meanwhile, former England coach Clive Woodward believes that the team must rethink their strategy for picking front rowers if they are to overcome their World Cup disappointment and win the tournament in 2023.

“(Former World Cup-winning scrum coach) Phil (Keith-Roach) had been warning me for a long time that England were going down the wrong route at scrum time in placing too much emphasis on ball-handling props,” Woodward, who coached England to World Cup glory in 2003, told the Daily Mail.

“Phil was invited to make his views known to Eddie but somehow his message didn’t get through. England were a long way down the route of basing their pack on all-singing, all-dancing running props – Kyle Sinckler, Ellis Genge and Mako Vunipola.

“Hardcore scrummagers gradually disappeared from the equation.

“England got this badly wrong and they need to have a rethink with their front-row strategy.”


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