Jones insists England 'moving in the right direction' despite poor Springboks defeat

By Sports Desk November 26, 2022

England head coach Eddie Jones remains bullish about the side's future despite Saturday's poor 27-13 loss to South Africa rounding out their worst calendar year since 2008.

The loss at Twickenham means the 2019 World Cup runners-up lost six of 12 Tests in 2022, managing only one win from four games during their autumn campaign.

Jones' side finished with a 2-3 record in the Six Nations at the start of the year, while earlier this month they lost to Argentina for the first time since 2009.

England were barely at the races on Saturday, with tries to Kurt-Lee Arendse and Eben Etzebeth lifting the Springboks to a 27-6 lead before Henry Slade's late consolation score with Thomas du Toit red carded for a no arms tackle.

"We want to win," Jones told reporters. “We are judged by results but I feel there is growth in the team which wasn't evident today.

"We don't want to get beat by a big score to South Africa and don't want to have the worst record since 2008 so it is a problem but I accept full responsibility for that.

"Obviously on results we are not happy but I feel like we are building a really good base to have a really good go at the World Cup, a really good go.

"A number of young players got great experience today and they'll come back better players for that. We’ve got other players coming back to form, some of our more senior players and we're not far away. We need to develop consistently. Test match rugby is all about consistency."

Jones said that "nothing seemed to go right" against the Springboks, who beat England in the 2019 World Cup final.

The loss comes after England thrashed Japan 52-13 a fortnight ago, a win followed by last week's thrilling 25-25 draw with New Zealand at Twickenham where the side crossed three times in the final eight minutes.

"I think it is a bit of a watershed game for us and we came into the game with high expectations on how we wanted to play on the back of Japan and New Zealand," Jones said.

"In this game South Africa were a bit too tough in the scrum and the air and I know where we have to improve.

"Are we moving in the right direction towards the World Cup? Yes we are. I don't care what other people think. Obviously, we are disappointed with our performance but there are 11 months to the World Cup and I have no doubt we will rise to the occasion.

"We just didn't fire a shot as we wanted today. You have to win contests against the Springboks and we didn't win the air or the set piece. We lost two of the key contests and we have to improve in those areas."

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