Pressure is mounting on England head coach Eddie Jones but flanker James Haskell is backing the Australian to turn things around
James Haskell says Eddie Jones is the best England coach he has worked with and dismissed speculation over the Australian’s future.
England have lost their last five games and head into Saturday’s final Test against South Africa already consigned to a series defeat.
Having won his first 18 games in charge and claimed back-to-back Six Nations titles, Jones is now experiencing the other side of the coin, but Haskell is backing his head coach to turn it around.
South Africa vs England
June 23, 2018, 3:00pm
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The 77-times capped flanker, who was rested for the tour of South Africa, told Sky Sports News: “A lot of people have voiced opinions about Eddie recently and I can honestly say he’s the best England coach – along with his other coaches – that I’ve ever worked with, hands down.
“I wish I had him and his coaching staff earlier on in my career because I’m confident we would have had more success than we did.
“His passion for his job and the way he approaches things is second to none.”
He continued: “I’m astounded people would question whether Eddie is the right man for the job. If for some bizarre reason he wasn’t, who are you going to replace him with?
“Everyone wants to fire everyone, the pundits in the papers want to have an opinion, but no-one can voice who they think would be the best person [to succeed Jones].
“There isn’t anyone out there that can do what Eddie does and lead England to the next World Cup.”
2:48 Making his first England start since 2008, Danny Cipriani reflects upon his international career
Haskell’s former Wasps team-mate Danny Cipriani will make his first England start in 10 years on Saturday after being named at fly-half.
Cipriani impressed when sprung from the bench in last weekend’s defeat to the Springboks in Bloemfontein and Haskell is confident he will repay the faith Jones has shown in him.
“It’s hugely important for Danny and a real feather in his cap, waiting 10 years to get that opportunity again,” said Haskell.
“Danny as a player is similar to me, a bit like Marmite, you either love him or you hate him.
0:45 Nathan Hughes has backed his former Wasps team-mate Cipriani to take centre stage for England
“He’s a guy that has had lots of things written about him, positive and negative, and I think that’s clouded opinions of him. He’s a very hard-working player, has a lot of desire to be successful and perform for England.
“I read a quote in an interview earlier that when he was younger he always envisaged playing for England. It wasn’t necessarily club rugby, the image he had in his mind was always of playing 10 for England. He has worked incredibly hard to come back and get involved.
“It has been an uphill climb – George Ford has been awesome for England, and still is very good, but I think this is a great opportunity to try something different. You saw it with Chris Robshaw, a guy who hadn’t been dropped under Eddie, getting moved aside for Brad Shields. No player is invincible.
“Danny will be excited. I think he knows he doesn’t have go out there and be the Le Bron James of the team, creating miracle moments.
“He just has to be very consistent, to play his natural game, manage the game very well, and all the reports I’ve heard is that he has slipped in seamlessly.
“I’ve every confidence he will put a good performance in.”