THE BLOG

Spring in England Rugby's Step

18/03/2016 17:23 GMT | Updated 19/03/2017 09:12 GMT

It is safe to say that when England crashed out of a home Rugby World Cup the nation was a fairly gloomy place. Years of preparation, both on and off the field, had come to nothing and that hurt, a lot.  

As an onlooker into the England camp I cannot being to imagine the level of hurt and strength of the emotions felt by all involved in last year's World Cup campaign. The players had trained for their entire careers to play in a home tournament, an opportunity that they'll never get again, and yet they'd fallen disastrously short. The management had worked for hours on end refining their thoughts and strategies to deliver when it mattered and they'd got it wrong. The immediate aftermath was a difficult time for English rugby and as players returned to the open arms of their domestic clubs we all sensed that the only true way forward would be to see a change at the top.

After Stuart Lancaster's departure there was little time available for an appointment to be made and yet there was absolutely no room for error as frustration was rife and falling short again would not be accepted. It was clear that England needed, and wanted, someone that would take charge with an unrelenting clarity of purpose and an individual that had experienced the world of rugby in its entirety. 

In the days after Eddie Jones' appointment those that knew, or had worked with him, were quick to proclaim that he was the right man for the job. To date they've been proved right, of course it is early days however all of the signs are that he, and his management team, are providing the right environment to take the national side to new heights. 

The Australian's forthright personality is exactly what England need and his principles and style of man management are already bringing out the best of those under his tutelage. As he reflects on his opening four matches in charge Eddie Jones is heaping the praise on the players for changing their own fortunes however we all know that he's the force driving their progression. 

Eddie Jones could have chosen an easy life at the Stormers, someone with his amount of experience would have breezed that role but instead he's chosen the bright lights and unrelenting pressure that comes with being England Rugby's head coach. Why? Due to the talent that he has within his control and the potential that he believes that he can draw out of them. 

Of course it's all plain sailing at the moment because the national side are winning and that is unlikely to be the case throughout their head coach's four-year tenure. However you believe that when, or should I say if, the losses arrive their head coach will deal with them efficiently and pragmatically. In professional sport losing is part of the course and if dealt with correctly teaches the lessons that need to be learned and is an important step in a team's development.

I am firmly of the opinion that if the RFU had chosen a different coach, one with a more placid approach and less experience then England wouldn't be playing the type of rugby that they are now and wouldn't be in line to take their first Grand Slam since 2003. England are a long way off from being the finished article and in fact are a long way off being 'Eddie Jones' England. But, they've started this new chapter and their development with a great deal of purpose.

After the lows of September and October 2015 English rugby is starting to get a spring back in its step, Dylan Hartley and his side have a Grand Slam within their grasp and it appears that the RFU's selection was the right one.