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Eddie Jones responds to Steve Borthwick comments: 'Keep blaming me' | 'More pain to go for England'

Former England head coach Eddie Jones (2016-2022) has backed up current head coach Steve Borthwick's comments that England "weren't good at anything" when he took over; Jones, now Australia head coach, has said: "He's right", "keep blaming me" and there is "more pain to go for England"

Eddie Jones (Associated Press)
Image: Former England head coach Eddie Jones has responded to Steve Borthwick's comments that the side "weren't good at anything"

Eddie Jones has responded to Steve Borthwick's comments that England "weren't good at anything" when he took over in December, saying: "He's right", "keep blaming me" and there is "more pain to go for England."

Duhan van der Merwe's double on Saturday saw Scotland make it three Calcutta Cup wins in a row for the first time since 1972 as they beat England 29-23 in the teams' Six Nations Round 1 encounter at Twickenham.

It left Borthwick to stew on a home defeat, after-which he commented: "I've been frank from day one in saying there's a lot of work to do. When I looked at the team in the autumn, when I measured the team and got all the data for the team, we weren't good at anything."

Jones, sacked as England boss in December after six years in charge, was hired as Australia head coach on a five-year contract in January, and responded to Borthwick's comments on his self-titled podcast EDDIE:

"He [Borthwick] is probably right. And that was part of the problem," Jones said.

Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McClennan, Australian Coach Eddie Jones and Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos at the official announcement of Eddie Jones arrival as Head Coach of the Australian Wallabies, held at  Matraville Sports High School Maroubra - Tuesday 31 January 2023 Mandatory credit Karen Watson
Image: Jones was appointed as Australia head coach on a five-year contract in January

"We were trying to morph a team that had been a very good set-piece and a very good kicking team. The way the game is played at the moment, that will win you games, but it is probably not good enough to be a World Cup champion.

"So expanding the attack sometimes takes away from your strength. They are going through that difficult period now where they are trying to get the balance right in the game. There is no doubt Steve will fix it.

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"And keep blaming me, that is alright. I have got a pretty strong back and pretty strong shoulders to absorb that.

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Borthwick said post-match that the pain of losing to Scotland at Twickenham will ultimately help the growth of side

"When you are young players, inconsistency is unfortunately a part of your apprenticeship at Test level. You get lapses of concentration. As they build their Tests up and build their maturity, they will be really good players.

"There is probably still a bit more pain to go for England which is hard for the supporters and hard for the coaches, but I am sure they will get through it."

England v Scotland - Guinness Six Nations - Twickenham Stadium
England's Owen Farrell appears dejected after the Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday February 4, 2023.
Image: England started under Borthwick in the worst possible way, losing at home to Scotland

Of England's Round 2 clash at home to Italy on Sunday, Jones added he expected a response to defeat from Borthwick's side, but also warned against writing off a much-improved Italy.

"The English always bounce back. I think they will go back to a more contestable kicking game against Italy: Put the ball in the air, try to get the ball back and use their big forwards," Jones added.

England coach Steve Borthwick..reacts after England lost against Scotland 29-23 during the Six Nations rugby union international match at Twickenham in London, England, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Image: Borthwick claimed after defeat to Scotland that when he looked at data upon taking the job, England "weren't good at anything"

"They [Italy] will come to Twickenham thinking they can win this game. When you believe you can win, it puts you in the front window. This will be a tighter game than it has been historically.

"England got tired and ragged in their defence [vs Scotland]. They will need to cover the field against Italy. They are prepared to pass the ball and prepared to make mistakes to pass the ball. England will need to get better spacing in their defence than they got last weekend."

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