Eddie Jones admits 'mistake' in RWC final loss to South Africa

England coach Eddie Jones admits he made a ‘mistake’ in World Cup final defeat to South Africa, by not bringing in ‘some fresh legs’ to start after gruelling semi-final win against New Zealand

  • Eddie Jones guided England to the 2019 Rugby World Cup final in Japan 
  • England beat New Zealand in the semi-finals and Jones stuck with the same team
  • In retrospect, the Aussie admits he should have refreshed the starting XV
  • South Africa were victorious as Jones lost in a RWC final for the second time 

Eddie Jones admits he made a ‘mistake in retrospect’ in his team selection for England’s loss to South Africa in the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. 

Jones’ side had pulled off a memorable victory against double world-champions New Zealand in the semi-finals a week earlier in what was a gruelling 19-7 triumph. 

However, having picked exactly the same starting XV for the final, Owen Farrell and Co couldn’t reach the heights of the week before and slumped to a 32-12 defeat at the hands of the Springboks – it was only the second time in four years he decided against making any changes. 

Eddie Jones admits he made a mistake in his team selection for the 2019 World Cup final

South Africa were crowned world champions after a 32-12 win against England in Japan 

‘The crucial game for us was always going to be that semi-final, we knew we were going to play New Zealand in the semi-final, so that was the game we had to plan for,’ Jones, Jones, talking exclusively to the Not Just Cricket Podcast, said. 

‘We always knew then it was going to be difficult to come back up because you’ve got to be at your absolute best to beat New Zealand in the semi. And we were, but then we struggle to get back to that level. 

‘We were probably 2 per cent off and they (South Africa) were 2 per cent better, and that’s the difference in those games.’

Jones adds that he should have changed the starting XV as a result of the effort his players put in in the win against the All Blacks.  

‘I think the only mistake I made in retrospect, is that I would have brought some fresh legs in to start the game for players that were maybe psychologically wear a bit tired, and maybe some fresh guys would have given us something. 

Jones’ side peaked in the World Cup in the semi-final victory against holders New Zealand 

‘But if we were 1 per cent better, we still could have won that game, and they’re the fine margins that you’re looking for. And again, it just reinforces how important the psychology is of performances. 

‘We are all searching to find better ways of getting consistent performance.’

It was the second World Cup final loss of Jones’ career, after his Wallabies side lost to England on home turf in a memorable 2003 final.  

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