SIR CLIVE WOODWARD: This RFU debrief about England’s Six Nations is a nonsensical whitewash


Speak about week to bury dangerous information – or, on this case, a meaningless Six Nations debrief.

Whereas soccer’s European Tremendous League scandal raged, the RFU slipped out their overview of the miserably poor Six Nations marketing campaign wherein England, for the second time in 4 years, completed fifth.

To cite the RFU: ‘The debrief panel included RFU board members, executives and impartial specialists. The overview was knowledgeable by suggestions from gamers, coaches (previous and current) and help employees in addition to detailed displays from Eddie Jones.’

The findings of the RFU debrief for England’s terrible Six Nations marketing campaign have gone public

Firstly, observe that not one particular person is prepared to have their title connected to this overview. That’s scandalous. We have to know the identification and {qualifications} of these on the RFU passing judgment and assessing a person who has twice taken sides to the World Cup ultimate and was additionally concerned in South Africa’s 2007 triumph.

Eddie remaining as coach was a given – and rightly so.

That mentioned, the RFU additionally introduced that an nameless panel of rugby specialists could be assembled to ‘inform all future debriefs to supply extra perception and help for the top coach. These exterior advisors may even be utilised after every marketing campaign to supply common evaluations and help for the teaching technique for future Six Nations campaigns and within the build-up to Rugby World Cup 2023’.

The extra I take into consideration this, the more odd it appears. He may not be able of energy after current outcomes however I’m completely staggered that Jones has accepted this nonsense.

As with each panel the RFU have assembled during the last decade, I might query their {qualifications}. Will probably be exhausting sufficient to seek out one particular person with the fitting data and character to evaluate and problem a coach of Eddie’s expertise, not to mention a panel of them.

As I’ve acknowledged many occasions, I don’t like post-tournament evaluations as a result of they’re both harmful, knee-jerk reactions or whitewashes. This one has managed to be each.

It is a cringe-worthy train in box-ticking, excuse-making and company twaddle by those that little question suppose they may coach a group like England however have neither the expertise nor the bottle.

It’s so mistaken that Jones could have no place to cover whereas these on the panel presiding over him get pleasure from anonymity and subsequently no repercussions for his or her choices.

England head coach Eddie Jones accepting this nonsense by the RFU comes as a surprise

England head coach Eddie Jones accepting this nonsense by the RFU comes as a shock

How will anonymity even work? If their identification is protected, does this imply they won’t be seen in camp? And if that’s the case, how will they expertise and perceive the group tradition, setting and dynamics?

What is required – and no head coach would significantly like this – is a director of rugby to whom the England coach consults on an ongoing foundation, not a couple of times a 12 months after a contest.

Eddie was a technical advisor to South Africa and Jake White once they received the 2007 World Cup, so it surprises me that he can not see the deserves of such a place. A line supervisor but in addition a help determine, a confidant and trusted rugby man who would inform him straight when he’s getting issues mistaken however again him to the hilt if he sees progress.

I had Fran Cotton and whereas he did not have the official title he was a strong board member and somebody I talked to regularly. He ticked each field. It might not be simple to seek out this particular person. Chemistry with the top coach is essential however should you get it proper, it will be a much more productive expertise than a faceless panel selecting over your work.

The second end result from the debrief was publishing what can solely be described as a listing of excuses for England’s efficiency. I think about the likes of New Zealand, France and South Africa had snigger studying these sorry excuses.

Sir Clive Woodward (pictured) had to answer to Fran Cotton when he was England head coach

Cotton was a powerful board member and someone Woodward talked to on a regular basis

Sir Clive Woodward (left) needed to reply to Fran Cotton when he was England head coach

Let’s dig into a number of the overview’s fatuous findings:

1. Further refereeing enter to supply method enchancment and consciousness throughout participant preparation and improvement.

Actually? We’re speaking about England right here not Maidenhead Underneath 11s! We had Steve Lander, a full-time referee, serving to us 20 years in the past. He was a key member of my backroom group, maintaining abreast of latest legal guidelines and interpretations, analysing the penalties we conceded, the modus operandi of upcoming refs.

That is stone age stuff. You are taking it as a on condition that it is occurring – and if not, why not?

2. The usage of information and analytics in excessive efficiency and marketing campaign administration is rising and to help this method, England Rugby will proceed to work with Premiership Rugby with the target of figuring out and introducing one frequent information system throughout the pathway and elite efficiency sport. This will likely be very important to monitoring and growing rising expertise within the pathway in addition to being a further software to handle participant welfare.

Information is highly effective however there’s approach an excessive amount of evaluation within the English sport already – and it is typically meaningless. Within the mistaken palms it threatens to paralyse the sport.

All the information lately has satisfied gullible coaches that it’s harmful to have the ball in hand and that the best choice is to kick for territory. Look the place that has taken us.

Did England actually need information to see that the Sarries boys had been undercooked and off the tempo? World-class, hands-on teaching from Eddie downwards is what England want proper now. Preserve the sports activities scientists and efficiency administrators at arm’s size.

England completed fifth within the Six Nations, shedding three out of their 5 matches this 12 months

3. Introduction of extra help buildings for coaches and gamers together with enhanced sports activities psychology and programmatic management improvement.

I might like to know the place this got here from. The very best sports activities psychologists are the coaches. That’s a part of your job. A part of the artwork of being a head coach is selecting good leaders who you may usually spot a mile off. It is not rocket science.

You establish gamers with management qualities, you give them duty – captain, vice-captain, lineout boss, defence chief. Get the fitting coach, the right sport plan, decide the fitting, in-form gamers of their finest positions and life shortly turns into comparatively simple.

4. Teaching – the absence of Jason Ryles and Neil Craig was a major loss in teaching experience and group help and this had a major influence on the broader teaching group. The preliminary unavailability of Matt Proudfoot and isolation of Eddie Jones additionally had an impact on the effectiveness of the teaching group.

The buck should begin and end with the top coach. Are we actually going to level the finger at Gareth Southgate’s assistants if England bomb out this summer time?

England loved the very best a part of 10 weeks collectively final autumn and winter, an astonishingly enviable time. After which, as standard, they gathered two weeks earlier than the event. No aspect might have had extra preparation time earlier than a Six Nations.

During the last 12 months each group has had appreciable Covid challenges to beat, simply as tens of millions have had in their very own lives. 5-star services, state-of-the-art back-up. I’m acutely embarrassed that England even put this ahead as an excuse.

Jones, who guided England to the 2019 World Cup final, will be eager to prove his critics wrong

Jones, who guided England to the 2019 World Cup ultimate, will likely be wanting to show his critics mistaken

5. Participant preparation and availability – a number of gamers didn’t have sufficient sport time going into the Six Nations. Conversely, a wider group had been fatigued because of being the one nation to have back-to-back seasons, leading to gamers having no psychological break from one season to the subsequent.

Everyone knew the scenario with the Saracens contingent. The selection was easy. Are they prepared or not? If not, drop them and usher in lots of the nice, in-form English gamers lighting up the Premiership.

And who precisely had been these fatigued gamers who, bear in mind, performed no rugby in any respect from March to August final 12 months. Many did not seem within the Premiership play-offs and performed very restricted rugby, or none in any respect, within the autumn internationals. I do not suppose one can find Max Malins, Ollie Lawrence, Ben Earl, Dan Robson, Ellis Genge, Mark Wilson, Harry Randall, Paolo Odogwu and Anthony Watson complaining of rugby and fatigue. Quite the opposite they had been straining on the leash. And if there have been gamers complaining of psychological fatigue, do not decide them.

6. Covid – the required stringent protocols, in some circumstances higher than different Unions – had a major influence on teaching and help employees in addition to the enjoying squad cohesion. Squad transition – the agreed protocols, which the RFU and Eddie had been totally supportive of resulting from Covid challenges – meant mounted squads prevented gamers coming out and in in the course of the marketing campaign as they’d usually.

Once more England doth protest an excessive amount of. They confronted the identical challenges as all the opposite sides.

It was England, in negotiation with the Premiership golf equipment, who put a restrict on the dimensions of their squad. They opted for a 28-man squad, which ought to have been loads given they may usher in harm replacements. Jones and England picked precisely who they wished once they wished. Once more, this excuse sticks within the craw.

Simply when English rugby was searching for the RFU and Jones to entrance up and take duty, we’re served up excuses.

The fact is, England received smashed in a lot the identical approach because the World Cup ultimate. Choice was mistaken and we have been sleepwalking into a mode of rugby that leaves us with nowhere to go.

Eddie ought to keep till the subsequent World Cup as a result of I understand how good he will be. However because the World Cup semi-final he has stagnated and, sadly for the gamers and supporters, there was no person remotely certified on the RFU who noticed that. I hope we now see the previous Eddie again at his finest however let’s overlook meaningless panels and sorry excuses. 


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