He always said “judge me on results”. Now, the Eddie Jones legacy will certainly be judged on results after defeating holders New Zealand in the World Cup semi-finals.

It has been a rollercoaster four years for England and their World Cup credentials, but this result has proved they are able to deliver on their promise.

Call him Mr World Cup

Even before the England win, Eddie Jones had the best coaches record against New Zealand and he is now responsible for two of the All Blacks’ last three World Cup defeats.

Of course, his exploits with Japan in 2015 are well documented and are the reason he is the England coach today. The historical significance of that match in Brighton grows every week.

He was part of the winning South Africa coaching team in 2007, and will now be on the ‘other side’ in the RWC 2019 final. Whether he will be able to leverage any insights and advantage from this is unclear. But it can surely only be of benefit.

It, of course, has not been smooth sailing during Eddie Jones’s tenure.

Erratic selections confused supporters

Jones initially managed to get results with the majority of the 2015 squad, then stuck too loyally to the likes of  Dylan Hartley, Chris Robshaw, and Mike Brown, when they were out of form.

Form Gallagher Premiership players like Don Armand, Dan Robson, and Ben Morgan have been ignored. And let’s not even mention the ongoing Danny Cipriani selection debate. There was then the selection of “apprentice players” who were never actually going to play, taking squad places away from the current generation.

This week, Ben Spencer will fly out to Japan and could make only his fourth international appearance in the World Cup final. The vastly more experienced Danny Care could have been chosen, or been in Japan from the start. Jones gambled on only taking two scrum-halves and has ultimately lost that bet.

All of this will mostly be forgotten, if the William Webb Ellis trophy returns to England but, the success of the Eddie Jones legacy also depends on the following years; as Sir Clive Woodward can verify.

Eddie Jones: ‘big match’ motivator

When England have been under pressure, or against the very best teams, Eddie Jones has often been able to spring surprise tactics. The England fast start became a trademark, perhaps most notably in Dublin, when they stunned Ireland and ran out 32-20 winners against the Six Nations holders.

Even before the kick-off in Yokohama, it was clear Jones had devised some more tricks. The England side stood in a ‘V’ formation during the Haka and resisted officials’ requests to remain behind the halfway line. Another early try set the tone for the match and the England rugby team was never threatened on the scoreboard the entire game.

Were England to lift the trophy, it will arguably be a more satisfying triumph than 2003, as they will have beaten all three of the big Southern Hemisphere teams.

World Cup win would secure Eddie Jones legacy

After two poor Rugby World Cup campaigns in 2011 and 2015, reaching the semi-finals was an absolute minimum requirement for England Rugby; just for the country to retain credibility as a top rugby power.

They have now equaled New Zealand and Australia’s record of four finals, and should go into the final as favourites.

 

Jones will now certainly remain as England coach for another two years at least. What’s the betting he may be persuaded to stay in until France 2023 if England are World Cup holders?

 

“Main photo credit” Embed from Getty Images

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