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Eddie Jones set to learn England rugby fate by mid-April

March 23, 2021 GMT
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England's head coach Eddie Jones watches his players warm-up before the Six Nations rugby union match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium, London, Saturday, March 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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England's head coach Eddie Jones watches his players warm-up before the Six Nations rugby union match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium, London, Saturday, March 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Eddie Jones is set to discover by the middle of next month whether he will keep his position as England rugby coach following the team’s woeful Six Nations title defense.

England finished in fifth place after losing to Scotland, Wales and Ireland in a single championship for the first time since 1976.

Jones, who took over in late 2015, stayed on after taking the team to the 2019 World Cup final and has a contract through to the 2023 tournament in France.

Bill Sweeney, chief executive of the Rugby Football Union, said Tuesday a full debrief of the Six Nations has been brought forward from May to April and promised there will be a reaction.

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“I think it’s really important at this stage we apply a bit of good old English calm,” Sweeney said. “We have to react. You can’t just do nothing. And we won’t do nothing.

“But, at the same time, it’s important we don’t overreact. Let’s just get this in context, let the dust settle for days rather than weeks, but we will kick off that debrief process. We won’t leave any stone unturned.”

Sweeney refused to say whether Jones retains the backing of the RFU.

He said his organization was “incredibly disappointed” in the team’s performances because England, the richest rugby union in the world, “doesn’t go into a Six Nations expecting to come fifth.”

“It needs to be a thorough, brutally honest analysis of what went wrong and why and what the issues are,” he said. “We certainly don’t want it to be an opportunity to wallow in excuses. It has been an unusual year, and I could reel off a whole list to you … But we don’t want to dwell on that.

“We want to look at the more fundamental issues of, are there any learnings from this in terms of how does this impact our thinking going through to 2023?”

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