Refusing to be ‘The Lost Boys’

My first thought at the final whistle on Saturday was that Eddie Jones should skip the after match interviews and rush off to buy a lottery ticket.

He didn’t and admitted on TV that he thought England had used up all their ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards.

Bonaparte was a great believer in luck

More importantly there are other quotes that are more apposite for how England ended up on the right side of the score

This England side go for 80 minutes – never believing that they are going to lose. There hasn’t been a side with that attitude since Martin Johnson was captain.

There has been lots of press about luck and that Wales didn’t deserve to lose but for me this one sums it up best –

It is worth reading it all but if you can’t be bothered here’s a snippet –

But whereas Jones comes across as a general with both tactical mastery and troops who are genuinely frightened of him, Howley is more the well-meaning supply teacher whose optimistic lesson plans fail to survive the streetwise and disruptive elements inherent in every classroom.

It is the difference too between the England of Jones and that of his predecessor Lancaster, another honourable, hard-working man who saw crunch matches slip from his grasp in each of his four Six Nations campaigns.

It happened at Twickenham in 2012, when Scott Williams’ brilliant solo burglary and escape sent Wales away towards a third Grand Slam in eight years and left England stalled in second.

It happened in Paris in 2014, when Gael Fickou’s late acceleration inside Alex Goode snatched a victory at the death to spell another second place.

And it happened, most famously of all, at Twickenham in that tumultuous World Cup group showdown 18 months ago, when an England team 10 points ahead, with half an hour to go, let a Welsh side with a scrum-half on the wing, a wing at centre and a patched-up fly-half at full-back fight back to steal away a three-point win that will be sung about until the Severn runs dry.

Jones, reptilian grin and all, does not care who likes him or what others think of his team, as Howley often appears to do and Lancaster once did.

And he is becoming defined by these wins when all is nip and tuck and maybe not: here in Cardiff, when his inexperienced back row shipped eight turnovers to their opponents, when the usually unflustered Jonathan Joseph was throwing passes into touch, when only Daly’s muscular speed had denied the excellent Dan Biggar a breakaway try; against France a week ago, when three opposition players all made more than 125m with ball in hand; when a red card for Daly meant 75 minutes against Argentina last autumn with 14 men.

Eddie Jones has been accused of being lucky in that he inherited Lancaster’s squad  and only had to turn up.

I’m not sure anyone really believes that! I certainly don’t.

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