If there were any doubts how English fans felt about Eddie Jones and his team, a chorus of boos made it abundantly clear.
A draw with the All Blacks in their penultimate Spring Tour Test added insult to an already tumultuous season in which England claimed just five wins from 12 matches.
Now, Jones faces a review that could see him ousted before next year’s Six Nations swings around.
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Former England winger Ugo Monye said it’s fair that fans have become disillusions by a team desperately in need of success less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup.
“Just walking past supporters and each and every one of them are just – I was just going to say moaning, but with real reason to moan – wondering why they’re paying what they’re paying for the tickets, wanting to understand the sense of direction at which this England team is travelling,” said Monye on the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly.
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“It was the quickest I’d exited Twickenham because I didn’t want to have to field all the various different questions and statements being thrown at me.
“That was poor, one of the worst endings from the stands in terms of how vocal they were to their team. Some of it, I think, rightly justified as well.”
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In a statement following their latest loss to the Springboks, the England Rugby Football Union thanks fans for their “patience and support” and added “it matters to us how they feel”.
The review is said to take two weeks, which will no doubt look into the team’s very little success – coming only against Japan, a depleted Australia, and woeful Wales.
Ultimately, it could be the fans who have the final say, Monye reasoned.
“The moment you start losing the faith in the fans, it becomes very difficult and I think that’s the spot we’re in right now,” Monye explained.
“It feels like, I think Eddie said it, this was going to be a watershed Autumn Nations series. I think he hoped it would be in a positive sense.
“I think it’s totally flipped on its head, and I absolutely agree, I still think it’s that watershed moment and England once again have to figure out where they want to stick or twist.”
Jones has been at the helm of England for seven years and has a knack for scoring success at the Rugby World Cup.
His latest success saw him take England to the final in 2019 and famously took Japan to victory over the Springboks in the 2015 edition.
Monye said it may simply be a case of time’s up.
“If he was to go, I think there will be people saying it should have happened sooner because of the time sensitivity pressure, we’ve got the Six Nations in two months and then a World Cup in nine months,” said Monye.
“If we are going to bring someone in, they’re not going to have a huge amount of time, but when Eddie Jones came in he had two weeks to get them ready for the Six Nations and won a grand slam off the back of it.
“Everyone has a gut feeling, but at this point where you’ve had poor results with poor performances, you need a sense of faith but faith backed on more than just gut feeling.
“There needs to be an objectivity to it, there needs to be something tangible behind it and it’s hard to find where that tangible evidence is.
“The only people that seem to be able to see it are the players in camp because they’ll see more than we’ll ever see.
“I don’t think anyone is saying Eddie Jones is a bad coach, he has an incredible proven track record,” he added.
“But if I do look at football, I look at Jose Mourinho. He’s still a great coach, but that relationship ran its course at Chelsea as well as other clubs.
“I look at Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. He did so many incredible things, the Invincibles, but he was there too long and he had to go.
“There are so many examples of where you’re talking about world-class, incredibly experienced coaches that either stay too long or for some reason there’s a disconnect between them, the players, or them and the fans.
“If Eddie is to stay, the number one thing he has to fix in terms of performance is the relationship with the fans.”
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