A concerning 32-18 defeat to an inspired Ireland was the nadir of a dismal 18 months for England’s stubborn coach
Fifth place for England. We have said that before, and quite recently, but this time the words will be spat out by those faithful clad in white with just a touch more vitriol. Familiarity breeds contempt, and familiarity with fifth place all the more so. Eddie Jones will be lying low for a while. Unless, of course, he is hauled up before the beak to explain himself – and possibly to pay the ultimate price.
That feels unlikely, despite the vitriol that will no doubt come his way. For all the ups and downs of his reign, the ups have been more regular and every bit as impressive as the lows have been dispiriting. But Jones sets great store in his own judgment, such that his consistent eschewal of some “obvious” selections can come across as wilfully stubborn.