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Jones takes responsibility after England’s struggles against South Africa

Jones takes responsibility after England’s struggles against South Africa

Jones takes responsibility after England’s struggles against South Africa

Eddie Jones took full responsibility for his England side’s 27-13 defeat to South Africa at Twickenham.

Jones’ side were outclassed and outmuscled in their final outing of an Autumn Nations Series that saw them beat Japan, draw with New Zealand and lose to Argentina and the Springboks.

The Australian remains upbeat and is confident that next year will bring improved performances, and more crucially, results.

“I have coached for a number of years and I believe I can coach well. People will say what they say, and there are ups and downs in sport but we didn’t play well today and I apologise for that, it’s entirely my fault,” he said.

“I think about where we are going towards a World Cup. Obviously we want to win games and be successful but are we moving in the right direction? Yes we are.”

England went toe-to-toe for South Africa in an attritional opening quarter and could well have been 9-3 ahead had Owen Farrell not erred from the kicking tee.

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But South Africa slowly beat England into submission and Jones felt the aerial battle was crucial.

“We are disappointed we didn’t play how we wanted to,” he said.

“We did a few things at the start of the game and got a bit disappointed and dropped our energy a bit. It took until the game had gone to start playing how we wanted to.

“South Africa do things to you that are sometimes difficult to deal with. In the first half, they won all the air and we were on the back foot all the time. We have to win the air, particularly on a day like today, and we didn’t.”

Of England’s starting XV, five players had played less than 20 international matches and Jones feels that they will benefit greatly from the experience of playing the world champions.

He believes those players will come good, given time, and that the side will be in a position to launch a serious assault on the World Cup in just under a year’s time.

“We’ve built a really good, solid base,” he said.

“We are disappointed with our performance today but it’s 11 months until the World Cup and a lot can happen. We will rise to the occasion and we have a good group of players but we didn’t land a shot like we wanted to today.

“Results tell you everything and that is what we are judged by but I feel like there is growth in the team, which we have seen, but wasn’t evident today.”

It was not the result that Manu Tuilagi would have wanted to mark his 50th cap with, but the England centre is confident that England are heading in the right direction.

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And the Sale Sharks man expressed enormous pride in leading out his country at a feverish Twickenham.

“It’s a really proud day for me and my family to be able to represent his great country 50 times. I never dreamed of doing such a thing and it’s an honour,” he said.

“It was a tough game. We wanted to come out and attack, which I thought we did at the start but the Springboks were tough and physical and they put a lot of pressure on us. They forced us to make mistakes and they capitalised on it.

“The plan was clear but South Africa are a quality side and they put us under a lot of pressure.

“We weren’t good enough today and we have to take it on the chin. We are building nicely. Sometimes it’s hard for people to see that but we definitely believe in that.”

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