Eddie Jones warned of "brutally honest" inquest into England’s Six Nations flop

Eddie Jones has been given no assurances about his future and warned there will be a “brutally honest” inquest into England’s Six Nations flop.

Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney was in no mood to sugar coat England’s fifth-placed finish ahead of only Italy.

Asked what went wrong, he said: “Gosh, how long have you got?!”

He revealed that a debrief scheduled for May would be brought forward to next month as “we are all incredibly disappointed”.

And he pledged: “We will leave no stone unturned, address the issues that need to be fixed and if we have to make changes, we’ll make those changes.

“We have to react. You can’t just do nothing and we won’t do nothing. At the same time it’s important we don’t overreact.”

Sweeney insists Jones wants answers as much as anyone for the reasons behind England’s worst ever Six Nations.

“It’s important to stress that Eddie’s not in denial,” he said. “He’s not quoting his win ratios, or previous tournaments or his record up to now. Not at all.

“He knows it’s going to be a thorough and brutally honest debrief. We need to get to the facts of it. We need to lift the hood up, have a look in and say ‘are we headed in the right direction?’”

Sweeney was quick to jump on a suggestion that Jones wields too much power and is unaccountable within the organisation.

“To anyone who thinks that I would look them straight in the eye and say that is absolutely not the case,” he said.

“He doesn't have power and influence within Twickenham. He is the head coach, he selects the squad, picks the team and is judged on performances.

“I’m not going to question his tactics round the line-out, but to think he is totally on an island by himself, no accountability, no interaction, it’s honestly just not the case.”

Sweeney revealed that he had had words with the Australian over accusing the media of putting ‘rat poison’ into the players’ heads.

“I didn’t like that," he said. "That doesn't help the cause and we have had a chat about it.”

There is no sense that the release clause in Jones’ contract is about to be triggered.

But Sweeney stressed: “It’s really important we get this right and we’ll have a panel put together with a good mixture of expertise across the RFU but also external as well.

“Because no-one wants to finish fifth. It was the youngest ever team in a World Cup final, in Japan, and yet we're in a period of transition in some key areas.

“We think we have a great crop of young English talent in the country. Our ambition is to win the World Cup in France.

“And when you have a disappointment like this, if we are in this period of evolution, we have to make sure it’s forward moving evolution.”

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