England collapse as South Africa condemn Eddie Jones’ men
Eddie Jones admitted that England’s loss to South Africa was “entirely his fault”, with the head coach’s side booed off the Twickenham pitch after their worst autumn campaign in 13 years.
Jones is under mounting pressure after England ended their four November internationals with just one win following a comprehensive defeat to the Springboks – who played the last 20 minutes with 14 men – which captain Owen Farrell described as “lacking a bit of bite”.
South Africa, despite not having any of their European-based players available for selection, joined Argentina in defeating England at Twickenham this autumn, while a draw with New Zealand and win over Japan did little to salvage the campaign in terms of results.
Saturday’s lacklustre loss – the Springboks’ first at the home of English rugby since 2014 – consigned England to their worst autumn campaign since 2009, when they lost to Australia and the All Blacks but defeated the Pumas.
England end 2022 with just five wins from 12 matches – plus a defeat to the Barbarians resulting in their worst calendar year since 2008 – and with the World Cup in France just a year away, Jones’ side have been left playing catch up to their rivals.
“We didn’t play well today, I apologise for that, it is entirely my fault and I take full responsibility,” Jones said after England’s second heaviest home defeat to the Springboks. “We are judged by results but I feel there is growth in the team which wasn’t evident today.
“I think it is a bit of a watershed game for us and we came into it with high expectations on how we wanted to play on the back of Japan and New Zealand. This game, South Africa were a bit too tough in the scrum and in the air and I know where we have to improve.
“Are we moving in the right direction towards the World Cup? Yes we are. I don’t care what other people think. Obviously, we are disappointed with our performance but there are 11 months to the World Cup and I have no doubt we will rise to the occasion. We just didn’t fire a shot as we wanted today.
“You have to win contests against the Springboks and we didn’t win the air or the set piece. We lost two of the key contests and we have to improve in those areas.”