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Sir Clive Woodward slams state of English rugby after South Africa loss | ‘The game in this country is a total shambles’

England lost 27-13 to South Africa on Saturday, bringing an end to a dismal autumn campaign that has seen Eddie Jones’ side win just one match; Woodward: “The game in this country is a total shambles and defeat to a South Africa side without nine of its best players showed it”

Last Updated: 27/11/22 11:22am


England players in a huddle at the final whistle after the defeat to South Africa

Sir Clive Woodward has claimed Saturday’s dire 27-13 defeat by South Africa at Twickenham completed the “worst week in English rugby history”.

England produced one of the lowest points during Eddie Jones’ tenure against a Springboks side that was missing their European-based players.

The result comes at the end of a dismal Autumn Nations Series campaign which has seen England win just one match – against Japan on November 12.

This latest defeat also means England have had their least successful year since 2008, with Jones presiding over six losses, one draw and five wins.

Drawing memories of the 2019 World Cup final, England failed to really trouble South Africa and the dismal end to the year came just two days after rugby bosses were accused of presiding over “failure on an epic scale” by MPs in response to the financial collapse of Gallagher Premiership clubs Worcester and Wasps.

England captain Owen Farrell says the squad are hurting after defeat to South Africa at Twickenham

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England captain Owen Farrell says the squad are hurting after defeat to South Africa at Twickenham

England captain Owen Farrell says the squad are hurting after defeat to South Africa at Twickenham

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, Woodward, England’s 2003 World Cup-winning coach, said: “This was the worst week in English rugby history. The game in this country is a total shambles, and defeat to a South Africa side without nine of its best players showed it.

“When are the leading figures at the RFU going to wake up and realise English rugby is in trouble? Everything is not OK. Eddie Jones will be allowed to carry on as he likes yet again.

Sir Clive Woodward led England to World Cup glory in 2003

Sir Clive Woodward led England to World Cup glory in 2003

“I was lost for words watching the South Africa game. It was that bad. It was one of the most depressing games I’ve seen at HQ. The England team is miles off where it needs to be.

“I’ve never seen people booing at the final whistle at Twickenham before. It really, really hurts me to see and hear that. I hate it. But at the same time, it also reflects where England are at right now.”

Mike Brown was a regular for Eddie Jones until 2018

Mike Brown was a regular for Eddie Jones until 2018

Brown: I have stopped believing what Eddie Jones says

Mike Brown, who is England’s most capped full-back and was a key figure under Jones until 2018, believes his former head coach must be “held to account” when he faces a review from the Rugby Football Union.

Nine Tests out from the 2023 World Cup and England are besieged by problems and frailties, identifying them as merely fringe contenders for the Springboks’ global crown.

“I have stopped believing what comes out of Eddie Jones’ mouth. I’m hearing the same things over and over again,” Brown told The Mail on Sunday.

“We keep getting fed all these narratives about growth and playing style, but it’s not being backed up on the pitch.

“He keeps saying it’s his fault, so what is he doing about it? The time for talking is over. People are bored with it. He needs to be held to account.”


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