Eddie Jones: RFU to blame for England's poor form, says Australia head coach

England players look dejected following their 30-22 defeat by Fiji
England have lost five of their past six matches

England's poor form is down to the RFU not producing enough quality players, says Australia head coach Eddie Jones.

England lost to Fiji for the first time last week - their third defeat in four before next week's World Cup in France.

Head coach Steve Borthwick has faced criticism, but former boss Jones says the blame lies elsewhere.

"The results of England over the last five years... they're not producing quality players," Jones told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"And so everyone looks at the head coach, and [says] 'let's blame the head coach'. But the onus on producing quality players is the RFU. And that hasn't happened.

"You've got to look at why you're not bringing talent through, then you've got to look at why your talent development systems are not doing that.

"The system's not right. What needs to change? Where's the gap? That's the responsibility of the RFU."

Borthwick has only won three games out of a possible nine since taking charge when Jones was sacked in December.

Jones left after a dismal year of results, with only five wins from 12 Tests in 2022.

Following defeat by Fiji, Borthwick said he had "no doubt" his side would make progress, while World Cup winner Jason Robinson said England could emulate the 2007 side and reach the final, despite poor form.

But BBC Sport pundit Matt Dawson - another World Cup winner - said England "do not have a prayer" of winning the tournament.

'Some players still finding their feet'

Jones says Borthwick is in a "difficult situation", adding: "You've got an ageing team. Anyone who knows anything about sport can see that and then you've got new players coming in.

"Some of them have come through and done really well, like a Freddie Steward, others are still finding their feet, like a Marcus Smith."

England's warm-up campaign has also been underpinned by discipline issues, alongside their poor form.

Captain Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola, the only specialist number eight in the squad, are serving bans for high tackles which will see them both miss the World Cup opener with Argentina on 9 September.

Farrell and Vunipola have received criticism for the dangerous nature of the tackles, but Jones has defended the pair.

"They all care. Billy cares about his game; cares about his team; cares about his nation. As does Owen. Sometimes in a game actions are inappropriate to the situation. And there's a consequence for it," Jones said.

"That situation just happens where they make a judgement mistake and decision-making mistake. They just calculate the situation wrong. And as a consequence, they get punished for it."

'Australia World Cup chances fantastic'

Like England, Australia are heading into the World Cup in bad form having lost all five games under Jones since his appointment in January.

The Wallabies suffered a 41-17 defeat to France last week in their final warm-up game before their World Cup opener against Georgia on Saturday.

Despite the side's struggles, Jones says their chances of winning the World Cup are "fantastic".

"No one thinks we can win, which is a great situation to be in," said Jones. "If I look at all the teams in the World Cup, most teams are at the end of their cycle.

"Look at the Irish team, a very good team, but a lot of players at the end of their careers. New Zealand are the same [and] South Africa to a larger extent. Those teams, while they can grow, they can't grow as quickly as we can.

"I've got a fair bit of optimism about what we can do. You need things to go right, and you need a bit of luck. But we work hard enough. We'll generate enough good luck and then you don't know where we can go."

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