Six Nations 2019: Eddie Jones seeks help to fix England’s mental weakness

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Six Nations 2019: England 38-38 Scotland highlights

Head coach Eddie Jones says England are still suffering from a mental weakness exposed during the 2015 World Cup.

England fell apart in the second half against Scotland as a 31-0 lead was squandered with only a converted injury-time try salvaging a 38-38 draw.

Jones now plans to recruit an expert to work on his team’s mentality.

“It’s like we have some hand grenades in the back of a jeep and sometimes they go off when there’s a lot of pressure,” said Jones.

“We have a few of them and we’ve got to get rid of them.”

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Squandering leads is a theme that came to prominence on last summer’s tour to South Africa and continued in the Six Nations against Wales in Cardiff and then against Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday.

Jones claims the flaw is a result of England’s traumatic group exit from their own World Cup four years ago, but is adamant it will be rectified in time for this year’s tournament, which starts in September in Japan.

“The team has probably had it since the 2015 World Cup and we’ve been working on a process to fix it,” said Jones.

“Whenever you have a difficult tournament or difficult games, there’s always a lingering thought process there. Sometimes it takes longer than you’d like to fix it, but it is fixable.

“It comes in when you get under pressure, a lot of pressure, and you can’t work out a way to get back to what you want to do.

“I’ve got one person that’s going to help us that’s a bit of an expert. I’m not sharing that name with you now. I haven’t used her before.”

Jones is confident this summer’s pre-World Cup training squad, and their four warm-up matches, offer enough time to work on the problem.

“When we won 18 games in a row, we still had those problems. And they have come to the fore in a couple of games recently, which is beneficial for us because it’s made it quite clear what we have to fix to be the best team in the world,” he said.

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‘We thought the job was done’

England’s most capped scrum-half Ben Youngs rejected Jones’ explanation as to why the team is vulnerable to self-inflicted wounds, although there was no hiding his frustration at a bewildering disintegration against Scotland.

“I wouldn’t agree with that at all. I don’t think it’s pressure; we just need a better understanding of where the momentum of the game is and what we want at that current moment,” Youngs said.

“We are looking at ourselves in the mirror going: ‘What have we done?’ You can’t be that ruthless in the first half and then be so toothless in the second.

“We thought the job was done and it was far from done. We were too loose, too flippant with the ball. There’s going to be a lot of reflection on this one.”


*Wales get three bonus points for winning all five of their games
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