RFU confident of England’s World Cup chances after Australia win

Jones’ team won matches in Brisbane and Sydney to win a tight series 2-1 more, earning the RFU’s strong backing through to the tournament. Sweeney admitted the Head Coach was under “intense pressure” after another poor Six Nations.

Jones is backed to perform the sort of turnaround he managed in 2019, when England peaked at the right time to reach the World Cup final after a difficult 2018 in which they lost three times in the Six Nations and twice on tour to South Africa.

“We feel OK, we feel we are on track for 2023, but it’s coming out of that transition phase now into putting consistent performances together back-to-back,” said Sweeney.

“We’re probably at that crossroads now around the Australian series.

“What you saw in the first Test [in Australia] was a see-saw performance where we didn’t have the consistency throughout and couldn’t control the momentum of the game. I think we saw enough in the other two to know that we are heading in the right direction there.

“If we have all the players we want fit and ready to play, we believe it is a really strong and powerful squad going into 2023.

“There’s always intense pressure and winning matters. You can only say transition for so long, you need to also deliver the results. Eddie was under intense pressure.”

Jones is contracted until the end of the tournament, which will take his reign to eight years, and Sweeney is confident the RFU have a strong field of candidates to take over.

While Sweeney was unable to speak about individuals under contract elsewhere, England do have options in the club game, such as Leicester’s Steve Borthwick, and possibly internationally, with Andy Farrell coaching Ireland.

“We’re comfortable we’ve got a very good coaching succession plan in place,” he said.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks have stuck by their under-fire Head Coach Ian Foster after they lost 2-1 to Ireland. He will lead the team on the Rugby Championship tour of Australia next month.

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