Eddie Jones will enter his meeting with Rugby Football Union chief executive Steve Brown this week armed with the conviction that England can still win next year’s World Cup.
Jones returned to London yesterday accompanied by his squad following a 2-1 series defeat by South Africa and will present his review of the tour to Brown before departing for a two-week holiday to Japan.
Playing on the wing has been great, a new challenge. Eddie met with me a few weeks before the tour and asked what I thought of the challenge of being a hybrid winger.Mike Brown
Assurances that he will continue as head coach have already been given by the RFU in the belief he remains the right man to lead England into Japan 2019, but the run of five Test defeats that came to an end at Newlands on Saturday still casts a shadow over his regime.
The 25-10 victory in Cape Town has provided some breathing space heading into an autumn schedule comprising of fixtures against the Springboks again, New Zealand, Japan and Australia and the 58-year-old’s ambition remains intact.
“We want to win every Test. We want to win the World Cup and sometimes you do things that might not necessarily mean you are at your best for that Test match,” said Jones.
“I’d like to win every game and I’d like to be the best team ever, but we’ll settle at where we are at.
“I’m enjoying what we are going through. It is just a natural part of a team development.”
Jones’ mantra throughout the tour has been that England are a team in transition, plugging gaps left by the absence of veteran operators such as James Haskell, Dan Cole and Dylan Hartley with the like of Tom Curry and Kyle Sinckler.
Across each Test in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town, however, the Springboks fielded teams with fewer caps.
“You start as (South Africa coach) Rassie Erasmus has done. You get some easy games and you improve and then you have got to renew the team,” said Jones. “Sometimes that renewal is difficult because you have to bring in some new players and maybe some of the older players are not performing where they should be and so you’ve got a bit of a gap in the team.”
Jonny May was England’s player of the series and 20-year-old Curry sounded his arrival as a genuine prospect at openside, while another success story of the tour was Mike Brown’s effective move from full-back to wing.
It was thought that Brown’s lack of pace would be exposed out wide, but the 32-year-old Harlequins veteran instead caught the eye through his work-rate and hard running.
“Playing on the wing has been great, a new challenge. Eddie met with me a few weeks before the tour and asked what I thought of the challenge of being a hybrid winger,” said Brown.
“I enjoyed getting involved and trying to get turnovers and tackling but I also enjoy counter-attack and high balls so it has been great for me. There’s so much more I can do in that position.”
Scottish Rugby has announced the appointment of Wigan Warriors rugby league head coach Shaun Wane as high performance coach.
Wane steered Warriors to two Super League titles but will cross codes to work with Scotland at the end of his contract.