Only four years after fielding the youngest team in a final, there are myriad reasons why England have arrived in France in crisis, ranked eighth in the world with expectations at an all-time low
It is the morning after the 2019 World Cup final and on the 47th floor of Tokyo’s Keio Plaza hotel, the Rugby Football Union’s chief executive, Bill Sweeney, is reflecting on what might have been. The conversation soon turns to whether Eddie Jones – at this point contracted until August 2021 – will stay on for the next World Cup. “We just need to sit down when we get back, have a couple of bottles of red wine and chat about where it goes,” says Sweeney. Pressed on whether Jones is the man to carry England to France 2023, he adds: “It makes sense, doesn’t it?”
Several hours later, soon after his flight lands at Heathrow, Jamie George gets a phone call. It is the Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall, informing him of the club’s swingeing punishments for breaking the salary cap – a £5.36m fine and 35 points docked. Relegation is looming. It is a phone call McCall will have had to make to Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, the Vunipolas and the rest of Saracens’ England contingent, who had been shielded from the news while in Japan.
Written by Gerard Meagher
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/sep/01/why-has-it-all-gone-wrong-for-england-since-the-last-mens-rugby-world-cup under the title “Why has it all gone wrong for England since the last men’s Rugby World Cup?”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.