England rugby chiefs back Jones after Six Nations review

London (AFP) –


England head coach Eddie Jones retains the "full support" of the Rugby Football Union following a review into the team's disappointing fifth-place finish in the 2021 Six Nations.

Defending champions England beat a strong France side and Italy but suffered defeats against Scotland, eventual winners Wales and Ireland.

Jones, the best-paid coach in world rugby, last year agreed a contract extension with the RFU through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which is understood to contain a break clause.

But English rugby chiefs reaffirmed their support for the 61-year-old Australian on Tuesday.

"The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has concluded a debrief of the England men's Six Nations 2021 campaign confirming its full support and backing of Eddie Jones as head coach, while recognising a sub-optimal campaign and the factors that contributed to it," read the RFU statement.

The debrief panel included RFU board members, executives and independent experts and received feedback from players, coaches and support staff as well as Jones.

The review highlighted a number of factors that contributed to England's poor campaign including stringent coronavirus protocols, which had a "significant impact on coaching and support staff as well as the playing squad cohesion".

It made a number of recommendations including additional refereeing input to tackle England's discipline issues and more streamlined use of data.

"Our track record and results under Eddie meant that we, the players and our fans had much higher expectations," said RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney.

"Eddie approached this review with a great deal of self-awareness and humility, allowing us to look at every aspect of the tournament to identify every small change we can make in order to improve."

Jones, who has won three Six Nations crowns with England, admitted the team had let their standards slip in 2021 but he remained upbeat.

"We all learned a lot from the experience and most importantly we have identified actions to enable the team to move forward positively towards 2023," he said.