Eddie Jones has been reprimanded by the Rugby Football Union for criticizing the English game’s reliance on the private school system.
the England head coach said in a newspaper interview that ‘you’re going to have to blow it all up’ as it produces ‘locked-in’ players who lack ‘determination’.
The view was condemned as “insulting” and “dividing and disrespectful” by 2003 World Cup-winning mastermind Clive Woodard and Twickenham reacted by stressing the importance of private schools to the game.
“RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney spoke to England head coach Eddie Jones on Sunday and confirmed the RFU’s position on the valuable role the independent sector plays in the journey. players,” said a statement from the RFU.
“The RFU greatly appreciates and supports the role that the independent and public school sectors play in introducing boys and girls to our sport and our playing journey.
“The most recent England men’s squad included players who benefited from time spent at independent schools, including Maro Itoje and Henry Arundell, as well as many public sector players, including Jonny Hill and Courtney Lawes.”
“As a union, we are always working to broaden the appeal and accessibility of rugby union to boys and girls from a wide variety of backgrounds.”
Of the starting XV that toppled Australia in last month’s decision in Sydney, eight were partially or fully educated in private schools.
The public sector provided the majority of England’s squad for the 2019 World Cup when it reached the final and its diversity of education and ethnicity was seen as an achievement.
But Jones told the I newspaper: “If you’ve only been in a system where you get to 15, you have a bit of rugby ability and then you go to Harrow.
“Then for two years you just play rugby, everything is done for you. It is reality.
“You have this closed life. When things go wrong on the pitch who is going to lead because these guys have never experienced it? I see this as a big thing.
“When we’re in the spotlight, we’re the best in the world. When we’re not in the spotlight, our ability to find a way to win, our determination, is not what it should be.