Eddie Jones claimed he is still the best man to lead England despite his team’s horror show in Dublin.
The World Cup finalists were thrashed by an Ireland side coached by Andy Farrell and Mike Catt – two men who lost their England jobs when Jones came to power.
It left England slumped in fifth place above only whipping boys Italy in the Six Nations table.
“We are going backwards at a rate of knots,” said World Cup-winning former England coach Sir Clive Woodward. “Somebody at Twickenham has to question Eddie Jones”
Yet Jones refused to accept that he had lost his players or that there is now a disconnect between the team and the public.
“I don’t think that’s the case, I don’t know what you are talking about,” said the Australian.
“We need to assess where we are going as, as I’ve said all along, we are going through a transition period and this is almost a natural time for that to happen with two years til the World Cup.
“But am I still getting through? Most definitely. I don’t think that’s the issue. If it was I wouldn’t be coaching the team.”
ENGLAND PLAYER RATINGS
Elliot Daly – 5
Forced to change position on eve and game didn’t go for him but at least tried to play.
Anthony Watson – 4
Eddie Jones likens him to a Maserati. Then why lock him in the garage? invisible.
Ollie Lawrence – 4
No answer to Henshaw’s midfield power and nous. Outclassed though not alone in that.
Owen Farrell (capt) – 5
Reached 500 Six Nations points but could not influence game at all.
Jonny May – 4
Spun like a top by Earls for his try. No threat in attack, despite late try.
George Ford – 4
Speculative kicks and unable to put any shape on game in face of Irish onslaught.
Ben Youngs – 5
Gave England hope with second half try but far too little too late
Mako Vunipola – 4
Subbed off at halftime after coughing up three penalties
Luke Cowan-Dickie – 4
Another to be hooked at half-time as Irish set-piece held sway
Kyle Sinckler – 4
Pinged at early scrum and it got no better as Irish forwards ran riot
Maro Itoje – 4
Can’t remember him ever having such little impact on a game as he did here
Charlie Ewels – 4
His lineout held up but Irish set-piece had all the winning moments.
Mark Wilson – 4
Made his tackles but akin to a speed bump in path of green machine
Tom Curry – 6
Always working, but pushing water uphill here. Class still showed.
Billy Vunipola – 4
Stopped in tracks, body language poor, time for Sam Simmonds to get a crack.
Replacements: Jamie George (Cowan-Dickie HT) , Ellis Genge (M Vunipola HT), Will Stuart (Sinckler 64), Jonny Hill (Ewels 55), Ben Earl (Wilson 50), George Martin (B Vunipola 67), Dan Robson (Youngs 55), Joe Marchant (Ford 50).