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Red-faced Roses

England rugby’s dismal losing run doesn’t add up for bullish boss Eddie Jones

The England boss slammed critics who claim he ignored altitude training and he instead blamed individual errors and discipline for the loss

EDDIE JONES attempted to rewrite history after South Africa made it.

While England threw away a 21-point lead — the biggest margin in tier one Test rugby — Jones was scrubbing out last month’s record defeat by the Barbarians.
 Eddie Jones was less than impressed when he was pressed about England's poor run of form
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Eddie Jones was less than impressed when he was pressed about England's poor run of form

England also lost their final three Six Nations games.

So that’s played five. Lost five.

Oh, and 21 tries conceded.

But not for Jones.

The Aussie rapped: “We’ve not had five defeats. We have lost four Test matches.”
 England threw away a 21 point lead in their First Test against SA
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England threw away a 21 point lead in their First Test against SA

Pressed on the miserable record, furious Jones said: “I’m not going to answer that question because I will lose my patience.”

The Barbarians game — in which the Red Rose leaked a record nine tries at Twickenham — was not a capped international.

Yet cash-hungry RFU chiefs still sold the game as a full England match to punters and Jones’ side that day included 11 of the 23 that lost to the Springboks at Ellis Park.

RED WHINE England boss Eddie Jones gets in a row with South African fans


Jones also shunned advice on playing at altitude.

Experts advise arriving at least ten days before games to adapt to reduced oxygen in the air — or jet in less than 24 hours before kick-off so your body retains higher oxygen levels before they drop.

Instead, England stayed in the UK before flying to Durban last weekend and arriving in Joburg on Thursday.

They blasted into a 24-3 lead in a crazy first 20 minutes with tries by Mike Brown, Elliot Daly and Owen Farrell — then ran out of puff.
 Jones said the team lacked discipline and were inconsistent in their opening defeat against South Africa
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Jones said the team lacked discipline and were inconsistent in their opening defeat against South Africa

Yet Jones insisted: “We don't think the benefits of staying at altitude are massive enough.

“And we didn’t lose the game because of altitude — we lost because of individual errors and discipline.

“The way we started you wouldn’t have thought altitude was the problem. It was a momentum game based on possession.”

Hooker Jamie George disagreed.  The Lions star admitted: “It was tough after 20 minutes.  The altitude really did kick in and definitely hit us quite hard.”

Sale scrum-half Faf de Klerk — who sparked the comeback with the first of South Africa’s five tries  — could not believe England’s preparations.
 Owen Farrell may have scored a try during the first test match, along with Mike Brown, but their side then fell apart in disastrous fashion
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Owen Farrell may have scored a try during the first test match, along with Mike Brown, but their side then fell apart in disastrous fashion

De Klerk said: “We knew they were based in Durban and coming from the UK the altitude was going to be a factor.

“That was our plan from the start but we didn’t have the ball in the first 20.

“England made a few errors they don’t usually make and that played into our hands.”

Jones’ men conceded 12 penalties to the Springboks’ five and had prop Mako Vunipola sin-binned for charging into de Klerk in the second half.
 It all started off so well for England...
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It all started off so well for England...

Maro Itoje and Jonny May pulled back two late tries to close the gap but sorting out the discipline will be crucial before Saturday’s Second Test in Bloemfontein.

Skipper Owen Farrell said: “At times we were a bit too desperate to try and get the ball back, or try and do something to give us the momentum probably quicker.

“I don’t think we need to be like that. We need to be controlled.
 S'Busiso N'kosi celebrates South Africa's win over England
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S'Busiso N'kosi celebrates South Africa's win over England

“We need to play with a discipline that allows us to get the ball  back and get momentum — not be desperate to get it back straight away.

“The main thing for us is belief. Not just saying it, but having a proper deep belief that we can go and win.

“From speaking to the boys I don’t think that will be an issue.

“We can’t sulk, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”
Siya Kolisi made history becoming the first black player to captain the South Africa rugby union team