England manager Eddie Jones is determined to restore ‘rhythm and flow’ to Test rugby


England head coach Eddie Jones is determined to end the ongoing disruptions that are dulling the game’s appeal in time for next year’s World Cup.

Jones plans to convene a group of senior coaches, players and umpires in the fall to eliminate the repeated game breaks caused by overuse of TMO, draconian supervision of high tackles, pedantic management of set pieces and drink breaks.

Union’s dwindling ball-in-play time was highlighted as Queensland and New South Wales met in a high-octane decision series on Wednesday, and Jones admits he’s “fed up” with the delays marring the spectacle.

When asked if the growing number of stoppages was the biggest problem for the sport, Jones replied, “Definitely. Definitive.

“We need to protect the game, don’t get me wrong, but accidental head contact and that non-stop use of the TMO, that’s what we need to turn off.

“We need to balance the game better. We tried to play everything absolutely right, like it was a tennis game.

“Every decision has to be right, but we have to find our rhythm and flow of the game again.

“You look at this Origin game and there was a natural flow and rhythm to it. Rugby, when it’s played at its best and we have the rules at the right level, we get that natural flow and rhythm in the game. But at the moment we don’t have it.

“Every time we get a flow in the game, there’s a pause. We go back. Someone took someone out.

“We have to get everyone on the same page and start moving towards the game that we really want. We just walked too far on a road.

“We can’t blame the referees. The referees, coaches and players have to come together and say, ‘This is the game we want’.”

Every decision has to be right, but we have to find the rhythm and flow of the game again

Eddie Jones

Jones spoke against Australia ahead of Saturday’s series decider, with the first two Tests alone producing five yellow cards – two of them for intentional hitting – and one red.

On the same day that England clinched a 25-17 win over the Wallabies, Ireland defeated New Zealand 23-12 in a chaotic test in Dunedin, with reserve pro Angus Ta’avao sacked within 15 minutes for a dangerous tackle from the Placed in which his teammates Leicester Fainga’anuku and Ofa Tu’ungafasi were banned in sins.

“I’ll certainly push for it because I’ve had enough. I never want to see another game like this between New Zealand and Ireland where we don’t even know how many people are supposed to be on the field,” Jones said.

“They’re doing it wrong and they’re still not doing it right. That’s not the referees’ fault, it’s what they’re being pushed to do, so we have to get this right.

“Otherwise, imagine the next World Cup… you play a quarter-final, you get a red card and two yellow cards, you’re down to 12 men and it’s just ridiculous.

“Line-outs can be cleaned up, scrums can be cleaned up and as long as the umpires get the job, they will. And the coaches will follow suit. But it must be clear and concise. Let’s get the game going.”

Jones hit back at Nic White after the veteran scrum-half from Australia said he was surprised at how many problems England had during the first two Tests.

Australian Nic White (left) is attacked by Englishman Maro Itoje (Tertius Pickard/AP).


“I hardly think he’s entitled to make that comment. He’s the greatest nigger ever, isn’t he?” said Jones.

“That makes me laugh – the boy who annoys everyone and complains about nagging. It’s a bit like the pot calling the cauldron black.”

England made three changes for the crucial third Test at Sydney Cricket Ground, choosing Danny Care in place of Jack Van Poortvliet at scrum half-time and starting Ollie Chessum and flanker Lewis Ludlam in place of the injured Maro Itoje and Sam Underhill. England manager Eddie Jones is determined to restore ‘rhythm and flow’ to Test rugby

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