England head coach Eddie Jones has said that he feels made two selection mistakes in his side’s 32-12 Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa.
Jones said that he should have started Harlequins’s Joe Marler at loose-head prop over Saracens’ Mako Vunipola, while the England coach also regrets his choice to stick with playing both George Ford and Owen Farrell in midfield.
“I accept that I made two selection mistakes for the final,” Jones said in his new autobiography My Life and Rugby, which is being serialised in the Times.
“I should have chosen Joe Marler ahead of Mako Vunipola at loosehead prop and reverted to the Owen Farrell-Manu Tuilagi-Henry Slade midfield we used against Australia.
“George Ford could have come off the bench when we had got into the game. But you never know until the game starts.
“You use the best available evidence and rely on your gut.”
England upset the All Blacks in the semifinal in Japan with a dominating 19-7 victory, but Jones has said that some of the post-match praise was “a bit over the top.”
“There’s a psychological challenge after the kind of big win we achieved against the All Blacks,” Jones added.
“While we did play well, I thought the analysis was a bit over the top.
“Everyone was slapping us on the back, saying how fantastic we were, how it was the best ever performance by an England team and the best ever win at a World Cup.
“The praise was everywhere. The challenge is to bring the players back to reality. It changes the structure and narrative of the week.”
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) want to extend Jones’ contract through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup, with the Australian coach’s current deal set to expire in 2021.