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James Haskell praises Eddie Jones despite England's poor form

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He may be in the midst of his worst run as England boss, losing each of his last five Tests in charge, but James Haskell has backed Eddie Jones to halt his side's current slump - hailing the Australian as the best England coach he has ever played under.

Jones had enjoyed a dream start to his reign as England head coach. After being appointed in November 2015 following England's disastrous World Cup campaign of that year, Jones oversaw a run of 18 straight victories - clinching a brace of Six Nations titles in the process.

However, 2018 has seen Jones' success screech to an abrupt halt and he now finds himself in charge of a team struggling for form and devoid of confidence, facing the prospect of a 3-0 series whitewash with against South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.

Inevitably Jones has faced his share of criticism in recent weeks, but Northampton flanker Haskell has thrown his support firmly behind Jones.

"A lot of people have voiced opinions about Eddie recently and I can honestly say he's the best England coach - along with his other coaches - that I've ever worked with, hands down," the 33-year-old told Sky Sports.

"I wish I had him and his coaching staff earlier on in my career because I'm confident we would have had more success than we did.

"His passion for his job and the way he approaches things is second to none."

So perhaps those critics who like to see Jones' reign end are jumping the gun somewhat and it is only a matter of time before the results turn around. 

England have surrendered early leads in each of their first two meetings with South Africa. The team selected for the third and final test sees the return of some much-needed experience in the shape of Chris Robshaw and Danny Cipriani.

England Media Access

Robshaw returns after being dropped for the second test - replacing the ill Brad Shields at blind-side flanker - whilst Cipriani will make his first England start in nearly a decade as he slots in at number 10.

Haskell, who has been rested for the series, is pleased to see his former Wasps team-mate back in the international fold and believes he can impress.

He added: "It's hugely important for Danny and a real feather in his cap, waiting 10 years to get that opportunity again...Danny as a player is similar to me, a bit like Marmite, you either love him or you hate him."

"Danny will be excited. I think he knows he doesn't have go out there and be the Le Bron James of the team, creating miracle moments. He just has to be very consistent, to play his natural game, manage the game very well, and all the reports I've heard is that he has slipped in seamlessly. I've every confidence he will put a good performance in."

England's Danny Cipriani (L) and James H

Whilst every England supporter will be hoping for a positive result at Newlands Stadium this weekend, Haskell cautioned against a knee-jerk reaction to the side's recent woes, insisting that faith should be kept in Jones as thy build towards next year's World Cup in Japan.

"I'm astounded people would question whether Eddie is the right man for the job," Haskell continued. "If for some bizarre reason he wasn't, who are you going to replace him with?

"Everyone wants to fire everyone, the pundits in the papers want to have an opinion, but no-one can voice who they think would be the best person [to succeed Jones]...There isn't anyone out there that can do what Eddie does and lead England to the next World Cup."

Topics:
Danny Cipriani
England Rugby
James Haskell
Rugby Union

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