The inquest has begun after England’s torrid Six Nations defeat to Ireland on St Patricks Day, and their former World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward has weighed in with his opinion.
Writing in his column for Daily Mail, Woodward pulls no punches, sharing his opinion that current coach Eddie Jones must go back to basics, by discussing with every player why they aren’t producing the form they have previously shown.
Following the previous defeats to Scotland and France, there were calls in some quarters for Jones to further expand his backroom team with a new attacking coach.
However, that wouldn't be the main priority for Woodward if he was in charge.
“What is needed most of all is for England to clarify how they want to play," he wrote."
"Eddie needs to sit down and debrief everybody, player by player and get their view. He has to find out where they are mentally and why the majority of them are not producing the form they show for their clubs or did for England during that great run.
"I have seen comments that England have become too robotic and predictable but I am not sure that is the crux of the problem either.
"Ireland also play to a pretty solid structure, it is just that they are doing it brilliantly at pace and precision. Execution, energy and composure is what is missing for England."
England enjoyed a sizzling start to life under Jones, completing a historic 3-0 series win in Australia, and storming to two successive Six Nations titles, culminating with a record-breaking 18-game Test winning run that ended with a 13-9 defeat to Ireland in the final game of last year's tournament.
Compare that to this year’s competition and it has been a complete disaster for Jones, with three successive defeats leading to a horrid 5th place finish, the Red Roses' lowest since finishing last in the old 5 Nations in 1983.
Questions will now come Jones’ way, and Woodward feels that he will benefit from some time out of the limelight, as the Australian has become “the show” for the English press as opposed to the team.
He added: “It is time for Eddie and his coaching staff to go to ground, it is a time for a period of silence. In fact, although they are all workaholics, with Eddie setting the tone in that respect with his 4am texting sessions to players when he cannot sleep, everybody needs to hit the beach and neck a few cold beers.”
Woodward and everyone else associated with England will hope a period of rest gets the squad back on track before the World Cup next year.
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