England v Japan: Eddie Jones admits Rugby World Cup focus has shifted away from challenge in Argentina

Jones has relied on the partnership between Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell (centre) as England’s long-term answer to the backline.
Date: November 12, Saturday Start: 15:15 GMT Place: Twickenham Stadium
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app, updates on BBC Radio 5 Live

England’s defeat to Argentina was partly down to preparation being too focused on next year’s Rugby World Cup, manager Eddie Jones has admitted.

“We’ve been looking at a number of long-term strategies that we’re trying to use in preparation for the World Cup, and maybe our focus wasn’t as narrow as it should have been on Argentina,” Jones said.

“That’s totally my fault.”

Pumas won 30-29 at Twickenham It was only the second time England have won away from home.

The teams will meet again in September in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup.

Jones insisted that England must develop their game and diversify their tactics if they are to go one better than their recent defeat in South Africa in 2019.

“There is a cluster of teams at the top of world rugby. We want to break that cluster and to do that we have to have a lot of different ways of playing the game,” he added.

“It’s about getting enough equipment in our arsenal over the next 11 months to play either way.

“England rugby is traditionally about power rugby, winning the play, breaking the line, but we have to learn from the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“In the final we faced a team that was stronger than us and we couldn’t beat them in that match.

“It’s been constantly in the back of our minds [thoughts] It’s about developing a different playing strategy, which means more subtlety and more ball movement to disrupt the defense.”

This weekend marks only the fifth time Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell have teamed up in a Test back row.

The combination has been criticized by former England international Will Greenwood The Daily Telegraph whether Jones should choose one or the other, rather than both.external link

But Jones said the partnership of Smith and Farrell was the best long-term look for England’s attack.

“We have 12 more games for the World Championship. If they are able to play 16 games together, they will understand each other well and start to read each other a little more,” he said.

“The chances we missed were small cohesion problems [improve by] playing together.”

Seibold’s departure was confirmed with Hodgson bringing him in to oversee the defence

Brett Hodgson
Hodgson left his role with Hull FC in September

Jones said he had mixed feelings about the departure of defensive coach Anthony Seibold after one year in his position.

Seibold will return to rugby league and the Australian coaching role at his native Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in the late autumn.

His compatriot Brett Hodgson, who managed Hull FC in the Super League for two seasons, will take over Seibold’s England role.

“It’s disappointing, but I’m also happy,” Jones said. “I love watching my coaches develop their careers. When you have good assistant coaches, other teams want them.

“I was really impressed when Brett visited us in 2018 and we talked a bit about coaching.

“Then he came to England and had two tough years coaching Hull FC, which is a tough job. He’s learned a lot, he understands the game very well, he’s a student of the coach.

“It’s an opportunity for us to be even better in defense.”

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