Rugby Football Union rebuke England head coach over remarks about ‘closeted’ public school players

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England head coach Eddie Jones has been reprimanded by the Rugby Football Union after he criticized the country’s reliance on the private school system.

The i newspaper published an interview with Jones over the weekend in which the coach claimed that players progressing via that system lacked “resolve”.

He also said it produces “closeted” players and the system needs blowing up as Jones feels it costs England when the going gets tough in internationals.

Slammed by Sir Clive Woodward

Jones’ stance has clearly upset 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward, who views the Australian’s quotes as “divisive and disrespectful”.

The RFU has since spoken out saying they have talked to Jones about the comments while also insisting that private schools remain crucial in the country.

“RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney spoke to the England head coach, Eddie Jones, on Sunday and confirmed the RFU’s position on the valued role the independent sector plays in the player pathway,” read the statement.

“The RFU is hugely appreciative and supportive of the role both the independent and state school sectors play in introducing boys and girls to our sport and in our player pathway.

“A collaborative approach and strong partnerships within the education sector ensure players are supported and offered opportunities to develop at all schools.

“The most recent England men’s squad contained players who have benefited from time within independent schools, including Maro Itoje and Henry Arundell, as well as many from the state sector 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 range of backgrounds.”

Jones, the former Wallabies head coach, believes that players in the private school system do not possess the experience of digging in when things get tough.

“If you have only been in a system where you get to 15, you have a bit of rugby ability and then go to Harrow,” he said in that interview with the i newspaper.

They live a closeted life

“Then for two years you do nothing but play rugby, everything’s done for you. That’s the reality. You have this closeted life.

“When things go to crap on the field who’s going to lead because these blokes have never had experience of it? I see that as a big thing.

“When we are on the front foot we are the best in the world. When we are not on the front foot our ability to find a way to win, our resolve, is not as it should be.”

Jones will leave his position as England head coach following the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France and has been linked with a return to Australia after that.

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