RFU chief backs Jones to end England’s poor run
Brown expects success after disappointing Six Nations campaign.
Eddie Jones has been warned by the Rugby Football Union that England are expected to reverse their recent slump by delivering a successful autumn campaign.
The team’s five-Test losing run came to an end with a 25-10 victory in Cape Town on June 23 – but the series against South Africa had already been conceded three months after falling to an alarming fifth-place finish in the NatWest 6 Nations.
Jones retains Twickenham’s backing but must produce a strong November series against the Springboks, New Zealand, Japan and Australia to ease speculation over his future.
“We plan to win every game we play. We expect success in the autumn,” RFU chief executive Steve Brown said.
“I don’t want to predict failure, I’d rather predict success, but that’s not in blind faith. They’re all big matches. We’re planning to come out of the other side
Brown and Jones reviewed England’s tour to South Africa upon the head coach’s return to these shores before discussing the punishing autumn schedule which looms on the horizon.
Jones’ early success when replacing Stuart Lancaster continues to hold weight at Twickenham – but it has been made clear that this year’s decline is unacceptable.
“I’ve reflected over the time Eddie has been at his post and his win rate (80 per cent). The win rate is still very high – it’s significant and it’s hard to argue
against it,” Brown said.
“It’s important that we don’t just make a judgement on what’s happened in the very short term. Nevertheless, it was a pretty poor run of results.
“We showed great character for the result in Cape Town but the series result was disappointing, there’s no question about it. So was the Six Nations. Coming fifth in the Six Nations was a pretty difficult situation.
“The last result in South Africa was important, but not critical to any decisions we make about the future.
“The confidence comes from the history to date and talking to Eddie about the plans for the autumn and the World Cup and how to get back to that win rate.
“I’ve discussed this with Eddie and I’m confident those disappointing results are behind us and can be turned around.”
Brown is overseeing a redundancy process at the RFU that is expected to be completed by the end of August with 62 people set to lose their jobs, saving the union £2-3million per annum.
“Lots has been said about what is going on at the union, but the first thing to say is that we are not in crisis and the second is that the financial position
of the RFU is very sound,” Brown said.
“We’ve not seen a drop in income as yet, but the people who support us, invest in us and spend money here are suffering out there.
“Every business has been affected and we’re predicting that the growth we’ve seen over the last five or six years will not continue. It will flatten out and maybe even decline slightly.
“So we’ve had to make some very difficult decisions and reduce the number of people who work here.”