England’s defeat by Grand Slam champions France saw them finish with three losses in the Six Nations for the second straight season, as Eddie Jones got so much wrong starting with Ben Youngs.
The RFU said after this latest defeat that there had “been progress”, I take it they’re basing this on the fact that in winning two and losing three games last season they finished fifth in the table, while this seasons 2 and three record got them two places higher, in third.
When you watch Ben Youngs be the main reason for England being bad in the first game. Watch him dither to the breakdown, dither at the breakdown and dither away from the breakdown with a useless pass or an aimless box-kick – that’s if England haven’t given up possession due to his dithering at the breakdown – then change to a younger, faster, more decisive scrum-half and then for the final game revert back to the old ditherer, how can you call that progress.
That’s before you even factor in bringing back George Ford.
Youngs and his malign influence on England could be summed up in one moment during the final game against France.
Just a couple of minutes into the second half and England were in a great position on the French line. From the ruck, Youngs was going to the right but changed his mind, came left. Courtney Lawes saw this and started to run in. all Youngs had to do was pop up the ball into Lawes’ arms and you had a few stone of English beef on the hoof – as Bill McClaren would say – batter into the French defence. But no. Youngs dithered and by the time the pass was made Lawes had stop to take it.
All momentum lost with one dither.
And that’s Youngs. That’s his game. Yes, all his media mates can bang on about what a nice chap he is, how long he’s played, but when it comes to the crunch he hinders England at every opportunity. Suppose we should just be grateful he didn’t box-kick it.
Jones’ picking of Youngs, along with his constant chopping and changing of his starting XV – when there’s no need to change, due to injury or suspensions – and his by the numbers substitutions, all contributed to yet another dismal campaign and really should see him sacked – I don’t care if the World Cup is just round the corner.
England beat two teams and one of them lost to Italy.
Thanks Eddie, you almost did it…