England head coach Eddie Jones. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Sam Simmonds says England’s players are wholeheartedly behind Eddie Jones as the head coach tries to bring some pride back to the team after another disappointing Six Nations season.
England could end up in fifth place for the second year in a row if they are defeated by Grand Slam against France on Saturday and the results in Cardiff and Dublin go against them.
Jones faced questions as to whether he was the right man to lead England to the 2023 World Cup, but a struggling 32-15 loss to Ireland, fought with 14 men to within 82 seconds, spared him further scrutiny .
Exeter’s number eight Simmonds said on Tuesday the Australian still had the players’ support.
“Eddie’s experience in the game is amazing,” he said. “When he speaks, the boys listen. I feel like as a group, probably more so in this campaign than any other, we’ve come together as a cadre.
“While that might not be reflected in the results against Scotland and Ireland, I feel like people got to see what it meant to us to play for England at Twickenham on Saturday.
“Besides, we don’t just play for England, we play for the coaches. It’s great to see that and how much confidence we have in what Eddie is doing and how we’re going to play the game over the weekend.”
France are heavy favorites to win a first Six Nations crown in 12 years, while Ireland are the only remaining rivals for the title.
But Simmonds insists they are not impenetrable as their colossal pack is an asset but also a potential Achilles’ heel that high-paced play can expose.
“They have a lot to play, but so do we,” he said. “They’re known for having a big pack, but we’ve talked a lot about counteracting what they’re doing and maybe trying to move them a little bit more, dulling their strengths and turning them into weaknesses.
“They have star players across the board, guys like Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack can pull things out of a hat that a lot of people can’t.”
Max Malins was dropped from the 28-man squad for the Paris game, leaving Elliot Daly, Louis Lynagh and Joe Marchant as options to replace him on the right wing.
Sam Underhill was retained, indicating his likely selection to fill the gap at openside created by Tom Curry’s hamstring injury.
Hooker Jamie Blamire was a late replacement for Jamie George in the Ireland defeat but he has lost that role to Nic Dolly, who is in his place while Luke Cowan-Dickie recovers from a knee injury.
England are under fire behind Eddie Jones
Source link England are under fire behind Eddie Jones