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England went soft after 2003 World Cup win and have not recovered - Eddie Jones

Published 28/05/2016

Eddie Jones believes England have suffered from fragility since winning the 2003 World Cup
Eddie Jones believes England have suffered from fragility since winning the 2003 World Cup

Eddie Jones believes England's lack of success since claiming the 2003 World Cup is a result of successive regimes allowing the team to develop a soft underbelly.

Until Jones masterminded a first Grand Slam in 13 years, t he Red Rose had managed to win just a solitary RBS 6 Nations title since Martin Johnson raised the Webb Ellis Cup in Sydney.

The Australian's priority after succeeding Stuart Lancaster in December has been to restore the snarl to the team which he reckons was lost amid players' pursuit of commercial interests.

When asked if the team had become soft since 2003, Jones said: "Without a doubt. I came up against them as Wallabies coach in 2004 and they came out for a holiday. We put 50 points on them in Brisbane.

"You cannot accept that - as soon as it was accepted, it was the end of that team and era. In reality, England rugby has never recovered since.

"Commercial activity took over for England's players after that World Cup success. And significant senior players retired at the same time.

"I don't mind players having agents and agents doing good things for them. If you play the game well, and that means training well, you should get financial rewards

"It's when they start taking short cuts, going to a function instead of having proper recovery, that I have a problem.

"Every time you play a Test match and wear the rose, it is important that you give it everything you've got. If you are too tired to go on tour, don't go on tour.

"I've said to the players, 'if you do not want to come on tour and work hard, stay at home. Go to Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Egypt, wherever you want and have a great time'. Maybe not Egypt. It is a choice you make."

England play three Tests against World Cup runners-up Australia in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney and Jones believes the tour will expose players who lack the commitment he demands.

"We are taking baby steps at the moment, but significant ones," said Jones, whose side face Wales at Twickenham on Sunday.

"The tour will be hard - we've got three difficult Tests there and we know that Australia have picked a strong squad.

"It will be all hands to the deck and we will separate the men from the boys. It's not about players having a nasty edge, but being desperate to play for England. That's what I want.

"Owen Farrell would be top of the tree and he is from Wigan. It's all about how desperate you are and George Ford is the same.

"They are kids who desperately want to play for England and get better. They are the players we want.

"There is no doubt that players have had it too easy and been handed caps."

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