February 28, 2018 / 7:28 PM / 4 months ago

Rugby: England need better leadership and breakdown skills - Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - England lacked leadership and struggled at the breakdown during their chastening Six Nations defeat by Scotland, coach Eddie Jones said on Wednesday.

Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland vs England - BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Britain - February 24, 2018 England head coach Eddie Jones during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Scotland outplayed the defending champions in a 25-13 victory at Murrayfield on Saturday as England failed to raise their game against an inspired performance by the hosts.

“We’ve always known that we have to improve in our leadership,” Jones told the RFU website.

“That’s an ongoing issue for us and something that takes time and is not solved overnight. It takes development, intellectual input, consultation, discussion, and we are doing all those things and moving in the right direction.

“It’s very easy to talk about leadership and how to change things but it’s harder to do.”

Jones is trying to create a strong leadership group like the world champion All Blacks.

“If I just give a historical example of New Zealand and how long it took them to fix things on the field, it took them eight years to fix it – we’re trying to do it in four, so everything’s a bit more difficult for us,” Jones said.

A fired-up Scotland team ran in three tries to establish a 22-6 lead at halftime.

“After 20 minutes it would have been ideal if we’d have reacted quicker, but we didn’t so it took us until halftime but that’s the progression of the team,” Jones said.

“Unless you have these sort of lessons you don’t learn from them and we’ve learnt a lot. It’s a harsh lesson.”

Scotland also dominated the breakdown, winning a number of turnovers to frustrate England’s efforts to get back into the match.

“We got caught at the breakdown area against a side that double jackals so we need to change a few things technically and the mindset of the players,” said Jones, who has led England to 24 victories in 26 matches in charge.

“Then our space in defence where we were too tight at various stages and we need to react better to the way teams defend,” the Australian added.

“I take responsibility for the performance, it wasn’t good enough. We felt we had good preparation but the preparation wasn’t right.

“We’ve done an exhaustive investigation into finding out what wasn’t right and there are some things that we’ve found we could’ve done a bit better.”

England’s next match is against France in Paris on March 10.”These things are hard to fix but we’re determined to fix them, we’re determined to put in a good performance against France,” Jones said.

Reporting by Ed Osmond; Editing by Toby Davis

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