It is half way through a pretty turgid first half at the Ricoh, and an image of Eddie Jones appears on the big screen, in crystal clear high definition. I find myself joining in the boos, much to the bewilderment of my two children. I did not get chance to explain why at the time, but for their benefit, here are my three reasons, and it is nothing to do with Danny Cipriani.
- Breaking players. Prime example, Sam Jones. This lad was in the form of his life when he got called up for England in October 2016. I saw his final game for Wasps where he was brilliant in a comfortable home victory against Harlequins. Twenty four hours later, innovative Eddie has overseen a judo session, the day after a gruelling game, where poor Sam breaks his leg, leading to his very premature retirement announced earlier this year. What has Eddie said about it in public since? Absolutely nothing. Only in this day and age can the RFU release a document rivalling war and peace regarding a tweet, yet say collectively zilch about their part in ending a players career. Tommy Taylor missed most of last year due to another injury in England training, days after the the premiership final. Nathan Hughes also barely played for Wasps last year, picking up a couple of injuries whilst wearing the red rose, despite clearly not being fit to take the field. Wasps opponents Bath have had similar problems, with five of their players having fallen foul to his regime whilst on international duty. It does not encourage good feelings, especially when Eddie, when questioned about it, does not exactly show any remorse.
- Bizarre selection policy. Elliot Daly, for example, must wonder what position Jones is going to trial him in next. Loose head prop perhaps, now Joe Marler has called it quits? The form outside centre in the country around three years ago, tactician Eddie has started him in this position precisely once. Most of his caps have been won on the wing, and by the end of the season, he had switched there for Wasps. Now he wants him to play full back, where he tried him against South Africa. Did not go particularity well in my view. Here is a radical idea Eddie, just a small thought old boy, how about PLAYING PLAYERS IN THE POSITION THEY PLAY WELL FOR AT THEIR CLUBS? Exeter fans must also be raging. Quality team, full of top English players, most of whom get overlooked every time the squads are announced. Very bizarre, and must be soul destroying for those players in form when they miss out despite performing well.
- Christian Wade. May seem harsh, but I blame Eddie partly for this one too. I cannot believe that one of the most exciting players I have ever seen is that fed up with rugby, that he is chancing his arm by trying to win a contract for with the NFL. I know nothing about American Football, but by all accounts he has no club, and the odds are stacked against him making it in the game. Jones has made it clear though he will not consider him, instead preferring to play Mike Brown on the wing in the last international. It is hardly surprising Wade is allegedly feeling disillusioned and ready to walk away.
Throw in the fact the England’s play is pretty dull plus very predictable, and realistically, they appear to be on the verge of another disappointing World Cup, despite having a huge pool of talented players to choose from. So kids, that’s why I booed him. You will understand one day.