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Why Eddie Jones is the man to bring England success at the Rugby World Cup

ByDave Stopher

Oct 20, 2019 #rugby, #Sports

Eddie Jones made history in November 2015 when he became head coach of the England national rugby team. The first ever non-Englishman to take the helm, the decision may have sparked controversy, but Jones’ record and list of honours speaks for itself. His turnaround of the Red Roses is remarkable, re-building them from down-and-out to potential World Cup contenders and in odds to win the World Cup, you’ll find England as one of the favourites to lift the Web Ellis Cup next month in Tokyo. After several years of misery following Sir Clive Woodward’s sensational exit, we believe Jones is the right man to take England forward. Here are three reasons why he can bring England success at the Rugby World Cup.

  1. He’s best-placed to deal with the adverse weather conditions

After taking charge of Tokai University and two stints with Suntory Sungoliath, as well as the Japan national side between 2012 and 2015, Jones knows exactly how the country’s varying weather can affect playing conditions and styles of play. Late summer and early autumn are notoriously typhoon season and after torrential rain, it can be very hot and humid.

However, Jones took his side to Miyazaki in the south of the country for their preparations, where humidity was exceptionally high and he believes the conditions will suit his players just fine. “We feel like playing in the humidity will give us an advantage. The players have adjusted really well.”

It’s the same resort his Japan side trained at ahead of the 2015 World Cup and the Cherry Blossoms famously upset the odds in beating the two-time champions South Africa – which of course, bodes well for England this time around.

  1. His sides have defied the odds before

Ahead of the 2007 World Cup, New Zealand were red-hot favourites, despite not lifting the Web Ellis Cup since the inaugural World Cup of 1987. South Africa may have been ranked second in the world, but they hadn’t made a final since their success in 1995 over the All-Blacks. However, South Africa, masterminded by Jones’ tactical prowess, steamed through the pool stages, overcoming England, Tonga, Samoa and the USA en route to the quarter-finals, picking up four wins and three bonus points.

After thumping wins over Fiji (37-20) and Argentina (37-13), they faced pool rivals England in the final. The Springboks had previously beaten the Red Roses 36-0 in the pool stage, but the final wasn’t as high-scoring, with only penalties scored during the match – but the Boks were victorious 15-6. Despite being assistant to Jake White, Jones was praised for his role in the success, in particular being credited with the team’s improved backline play.

After winning eight out of eight 2013-14 Asian Five Nations matches, Jones’ Japan side qualified for the 2015 World Cup, held in England. The Cherry Blossoms made history twice. The first was with good reason, having beaten one of the early favourites, South Africa, in their opening game. The score was a close 34-32, but even today, it’s described as one of the biggest upsets in the history of rugby.

After following up the win with a heavy defeat to Scotland, and despite winning their final two games (against Samoa and the USA), Japan were eliminated at the group stage with 12 points, having failed to score any bonus points; thus becoming the first team in World Cup history to win three pool games but still be eliminated.

  1. He has already transformed the side

When Jones took over from Stuart Lancaster, there’s no denying that England were a side in chaos. Having hosted the 2015 World Cup, they were embarrassingly the first ever stand-alone host nation to be knocked out at the pool stage, following two defeats.

In his first year alone, Jones brought some pride (and glory) back to the nation – winning the 2016 Six Nations Grand Slam, all three Tests against the Wallabies in his native Australia and winning every match of the 13 they played during that year.

Of course, it hasn’t all been plain-sailing and a run of five matches without a win, as well as a second-last finish at the Six Nations just last year haven’t done much for those unconvinced by Jones, nor those who call him a “clown”. But while some have commented on his bullish approach and tyrannical demeanour, looking at the squad that he has assembled for this year’s Rugby World Cup, there is much more togetherness, but also that ruthless quality you need to scrap to win games. Jones’ man-management skills simply cannot be faulted.