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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The four gambles that paid off for Eddie Jones as England rediscovered their mojo

Eddie Jones’ ‘New England’ secured an impressive autumn clean sweep with wins over Tonga, Australia and South Africa. And while the head coach isn’t getting carried away, Telegraph Sport analyses four key moves that paid off for Jones. 

Replacing the old guard

Jones says that he knew after the 2019 World Cup that this team would need refreshing around this point. 

“Sometimes you can plan the timing and sometimes the timing comes to you and sometimes it is a bit of both,” the England head coach said.

In this case a combination of a fifth place finish in the Six Nations and a youthful injection over the summer Tests, forced his hand, culling Ford, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola and Jamie George – even if the latter was recalled when Luke Cowan-Dickie was injured.

Unlike his refresh in the previous World Cup cycle which saw a gradual easing out of veterans such as Chris Robshaw, James Haskell and Dylan Hartley, this was a short, sharp shock. 

While the door is not yet shut on Ford and co, the results of the autumn, the more adventurous style of play and the rise of Smith and Steward give real substance to Jones’ slogan of ‘New England’.

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