THE BLOG
25/02/2016 12:29 GMT | Updated 25/02/2017 05:12 GMT

Astute Eddie Jones on Track But the True Tests for England Rugby Are Ahead

On Saturday when England will return to Twickenham Stadium for the first time since their 'less than ideal' Rugby World Cup Eddie Jones will have been in charge for exactly 99 days. For those looking on that seems like a sizeable amount of time however the man himself has openly spoken about the journey of taking on a new side and the timeframes in which it takes for that side to become his own;

"Generally speaking, if you look at most teams around the world when a coach takes over, the first year you are coaching the previous coach's team - that's the reality. The second year, you can change it by 50 percent, the third year you can change it by 80 per cent. Which means by the third year it's your team and that's where you should be at your best. The third and fourth years are the years you get your maximum."

Of course with these words Eddie is carefully managing external expectations however, if the side continue on the positive trajectory that they are on, then we should expect a lot more, a lot sooner, from his England Rugby squad.

Contrary to popular belief, England weren't in a horrendous place after the World Cup. Instead, a talented group of players, and their management, had struggled to handle the emotional pressures of a home tournament.

The unique opportunity that was afforded to them pushed decisions to be made that, in hindsight, were totally incorrect and perhaps wouldn't have been made in other circumstances. The point here is that when Eddie Jones took over England were in a promising place and with the depths of his knowledge and his astute understanding of the 'right time to bring players through' the signs for now, and the future, are promising.

With all due respect to Scotland and Italy, England's true tests are on the way. Looking ahead to this weekend Ireland may be ravaged by injuries however in spite of that their aerial game remains. In the pre-Rugby World Cup meeting between England and Ireland the home side played 40 minutes of textbook rugby against Joe Schmidt's men; they pinned Ireland back in their own half and finished off two great opportunities and they could have taken had more.

It will be the same on Saturday afternoon, in Jones' words England have to 'win the Aussie Rules contest' and in order to do that he is focusing on the detail;

"You've got to admire Ireland, They are a clever side. They are one of the best-coached sides in the world, full-stop. They use their resources well and that's why they've won 2 Six Nations titles. They've decided to go that route [an aerial game]; it works for them. So who am I to criticise it?"

"The great thing about rugby is it changes all the time. You now have this kicking game that three years ago  - maybe not in England but round the rest of the world it wasn't coached greatly. Now you have this escorting of players back, the protection of catchers, all those sorts of small details you have to coach now. The teams that do those things well are the teams that win the aerial battle. It's not just about having the tallest, bravest catchers, you've got to work off the ball to ensure that you give them protection and you've got to put kick-pressure on the kickers."

"Conor Murray's one of the most outstanding half-backs in the world. He is very sharp, he is street-smart, he senses things well and he has a good kicking game. He is a guy you have to put a fair bit of pressure on. But to get to Murray, you have to do other things."

These short paragraphs give you an indication of the way in which Eddie Jones' coaching brain works, like the best coaches in the world he is entrenched in the detail, and expects his players to be too.

Already England's head coach has his side in the right frame of mind to head back to Twickenham Stadium and deliver. He's fully focused on driving personal, and team performance, as well as carefully managing the expectations of those outside of the camp.

Over the short time that Eddie Jones has been in charge we've seen a masterclass of how to take over a team and begin whipping them into shape however as mentioned the true tests start now with Ireland, Wales and France on the way.