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12th Mar 2022

Eddie Jones makes fair point with ‘only complaint’ of post-match conference

Patrick McCarry

Ellis Genge

“No questions about the red.”

Even when the question included reference to Charlie Ewels being ‘a gentleman’, Eddie Jones did little to argue the point of the England lock’s red card.

Jones was in decent post-match form, despite his England side dropping their second Six Nations loss of the campaign.

England were reduced to 14 men for what ended up being over 80 minutes of their Twickenham clash with Ireland, when Ewels was send off for a high tackle on James Ryan. Ireland soon went 8-0 up, but England fought, scrapped and clawed their way back to 15-15 with 20 minutes to go.

Ireland were able to make changes, and make their numerical advantage count in the final quarter to win 32-15, but Jones was taking great encouragement from the tank-emptying performance of his players.

“It was a great learning experience for this team. I couldn’t be prouder of them. They are a young team and the older guys like Courtney [Lawes] and [Ellis] Genge, Jamie George led beautifully and the young guys adapted really well and will learn a lot.”

“I see that as a foundation game for us where we set our campaign for the World Cup in 2023,” he added.

“The spirit, the determination, the ability to work through problems were all absolutely outstanding. This pack is only going to get better and better.

“We want to be an old-fashioned England pack and a new-fashioned England attack. We’re moving in a really solid progression towards that. You can see how much the players are enjoying it and how much they want to play for each other.”

Jones did have a gripe, though, that he wanted to get off his chest in the post-match press conference. It revolved around England’s clear scrum dominance.

Jack Nowell celebrates after England win another scrum penalty. (Credit: Sportsfile)

Ireland conceded a worrying 15 penalties [to England’s seven] and two free kicks, with much of the damage done to them in the scrum.

It mattered little whether it was Ireland’s starting front row or replacement unit, both got taken to the bank and shook from the legs. It was a proper doing.

While Eddie Jones conceded that Ewels could have no arguments with his red, he wondered aloud where referee Mathieu Raynal had put his yellow card.

“I’m a bit disappointed the referee didn’t allow us to scrum fully. That would be my only complaint.

“We weren’t allowed to play advantage away from the scrum. We got four scrum penalties and there was no sign of a yellow card.

“We want to have a powerful scrum and if World Rugby want to have the scrum in the game, they have got to allow the strong scrums to dominate. We’re disappointed we didn’t get more out of that.”

It was a valid complaint, too, from Eddie Jones.

Ireland supporters may have cribbed about the legality of the England front row’s scrummaging actions, but Raynal had clearly decided they were on top. At no stage did the French referee look close to sin-binning an Irish forward.

Up next for England will be a fearsome front row unit [and the rest] as they take on France in Paris.