England head coach Eddie Jones made an astonishing remark after he announced the team that will face Argentina on Saturday.
He claims that England have failed to produce talent that falls under the ‘world-class’ category ever since Jonny Wilkinson.
Highly criticising the lack of desire of his predecessors’ teams, Jones asserts that the previous teams didn’t yearn to be special and hence could not reach glorious heights.
However, the Aussie coach is of the opinion that only one player can be regarded as world-class in English soil, and that was Wilkinson.
The former Newcastle Falcon star was acknowledged by the experts, as well as his peers, as one of the world’s best rugby union players during his tenure which lasted nearly two decades.
Daily Mirror quoted the 56-year-old saying: “If you look at the record of English rugby, since 2003 there’s only been one world-class player produced and that’s Jonny Wilkinson.
“There hasn’t been the desire from the players to push themselves and be great. But now we have a number of players who want to be part of a great team and want to be great players.”
Jones believes that the current crop of players he has at his disposal may have the talent, but they need to channelise that into greatness.
He added: “Guys are moving towards that (world-class) area. I don’t think you get a stamp on your head to say ‘you’re world-class now’. But we’ve got guys who are starting to perform 8/10 every game and when you do that you then become world-class.”
Jones also reminded that players need to promote the desire and make the most of the opportunity that comes their way in order to be among the greats of the sport.
“To be a great player, you have to work that little bit harder. You’ve got to eat the right food and do the right recovery. The players are starting to do that.
“We take numbers on everything – how they get out of bed, what foot they put forward first, all that sort of rubbish.
“I don’t like to talk about small margins. Small margins are for cycling and we’re rugby players. But the players are in good physical nick as a result of what they’re doing. It’s about what you do when the coach isn’t there.
“When you go back to your room, do you fall asleep or play on your iPad? Or do you have a stretch and drink that glass of water, so you’re hydrated the next day? They’re the things that count.”
The Tasmania-born coach gave an example through Elliot Daly, whose performances in recent showings have earned him accolades from all quarters.
“Elliot’s become a lot more serious about his rugby. He’s got a good sense for the game. The last England winger who was good like that was a bloke called Jason Robinson.
“Elliot is not Jason, but we’re seeing great signs from him.
"Sometimes it just happens for young kids. All of a sudden they think, 'Goodness me, I’ve got a great opportunity — I’m going to take this.'"
Jones has successfully installed the belief among his players that they have the skills to reach for glory.
Performances under the great coach are certainly praiseworthy, with a 100% win ratio, winning 11 out of 11 against eight other nations.
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