At some stage in the next fortnight Eddie Jones will sit down for dinner with the Rugby Football Union’s chief executive, Bill Sweeney, to discuss the future. There will be no shortage of agenda items, not least the fall-out from a tempestuous Anglo-Welsh contest which at times was more like rollerball than rugby. England may have collected a triple crown but, not for the first time, the hosts won few awards for grace or diplomacy.
Does it matter how a national team behaves as long as it wins? Jones has never been over-burdened by such considerations but over the coming months the RFU has a fundamental decision to make. Does it stick with the devil it knows and renew its vows with a man increasingly threatening José Mourinho’s position as the country’s prickliest coach? Or does it take a more holistic view, decide a less Marmite personality will improve the squad’s 2023 World Cup prospects and tell Jones his contract will not be renewed when it expires next year?
This truncated Six Nations campaign – as yet it remains to be seen when England’s final game in Italy will take place – has yielded evidence to support both arguments. On the one hand Jones has unquestionably made England a tougher, fitter team; on the other his side underperformed horribly in Paris and owe Scotland a large beer for breathing fresh life into the Six Nations title race.
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Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me