Jones thrives on leading England out of anticipated slump

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Eddie Jones insists he is pulling knives out of his back having anticipated the turbulent period currently engulfing his England reign.

South Africa have seized an unassailable 2-0 lead in their series with Saturday’s final encounter in Cape Town remaining to leave Jones fighting for his future in the wake of five successive Test defeats.

The Rugby Football Union has given its backing to their head coach and there are no plans to reconsider his contract, which expires in 2023 subject to a break clause dependent on performance at next year’s World Cup.

England have plunged to sixth in the global rankings on the back of Saturday’s 23-12 defeat in Bloemfontein, but Jones sounded a note of defiance by revealing the sense of fulfilment he feels from leading a team out of crisis.

“Every coaching job is the same,” he said.

“When you are doing well, everyone pats you on the back and when you are not doing well, you’re pulling knives out of your back. That’s the reality of it.

“I’ve been through it before many times. If you coach for a long period of time you have your good periods and your bad periods. These are the great periods.

“These are the periods you look forward to – where everyone thinks you’re done and you have to find a way to win. I’m enjoying it, loving it, absolutely loving it.

“What can I do? The only thing I can do is coach well. Anything else, I don’t control. I just try to coach the team better every day and that’s where my enjoyment comes.

“That’s what I love doing. I love coaching this team. If someone decides that’s not good enough, then they decide.

“If someone decides I’m good enough then I will keep coaching. That’s what I’ve done with every team I’ve coached and it’s no different now.”

Jones has faced a tsunami of criticism following South Africa’s comfortable victory at Free State Stadium on Saturday, including some calls to step down.

Memories of the opening two years of his reign when he oversaw a world record-equalling 18th successive Test victory and then 24 wins from 25 matches are fading fast, but the Australian was prepare for this very scenario.

“I knew this was coming, 100 per cent. You can’t expect to just keep winning endlessly. And a lot of the wins we had, luck went on our side,” Jones said.

“You get that, then you have these other periods which are bloody tough when you don’t get any luck. You don’t get those 50-50 calls.

“And you’ve got to battle through them. Because that gives you the hallmarks of what you need. It builds resilience, it builds the character of your team, it builds memories.

“They remember these things for a long period of time. It draws people closer together. And what you get out of this is a stronger team. And that’s what will happen.”

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