Defeat by South Africa lays bare the deeper problems facing England | Robert Kitson

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With a World Cup approaching Eddie Jones needs to arrest an alarming slide with six defeats and a draw from 12 Tests in 2022

Sometimes the scoreboard reflects only one part of a wider story. Yes, England have underperformed this autumn en route to their worst calendar year since 2008. Yes, South Africa were comfortably better on Saturday in their 27-13 victory. But the truest gauge of English rugby’s current predicament was ultimately to be found elsewhere: the boos at the final whistle, the number of spectators leaving early and the savage home truths on social media.

England’s biggest problem is not that they have lost a high-profile rugby match or two. It is the fact that they are rapidly losing their nation’s faith. Anyone with a pair of eyes, whether sitting inside Twickenham or at home on the sofa, can see the sweet chariot has stalled with next year’s World Cup now only five competitive games away. Simply to blame Eddie Jones in isolation is to underplay the rising tide of problems now lapping at the Rugby Football Union’s door.

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Written by Robert Kitson at Twickenham
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