Former England head coach Clive Woodward has branded the Red Rose’s 2018 a horror show.
Woodward, whose team were crowned world champions in 2003, said Eddie Jones‘ side have not progressed at the same rate as their rivals.
England conceded five tries in a 42-39 defeat by South Africa on Saturday – a fourth consecutive Test defeat.
It had all started so well for England as they opened up a 24-3 lead inside 18 minutes, but the Springboks rallied to score four tries to lead 29-27 at the interval.
Woodward said the first 20 minutes of Saturday’s match “was some of the best rugby I have ever seen England play”.
But Jones’ side faded badly – and Springboks scrum-half Faf de Klerk said the hosts always intended to prey on England’s vulnerabilities at altitude.
“Something is not right because they are normally very good defensively,” said Woodward on BBC Radio 5 live.
“The bubble has burst and teams have recognised that the way to beat England is by playing an all-out fast game.”
Defeat in Johannesburg follows a disappointing Six Nations campaign during which England lost three of their five matches and conceded their title to Ireland.
Rhys Patchell has warned Wales to brace themselves for a “big response” from Argentina when the two teams meet again in next weeekend’s second Test in Santa Fe.
Warren Gatland‘s side moved 1-0 up in the two-match series with an impressive 23-10 victory over the Pumas at San Juan’s Estadio del Bicentenario.
Flanker James Davies stood out with a man-of-the-match display but as good as Wales were, the hosts failed to fire a shot in an underwhelming performance.
Patchell believes it will be a different story next Saturday, however.
“I’d imagine Argentina are going to come with a big response next week,” said the Wales fly-half, who orchestrated his back line well and kicked 10 points.
“We played well as a team and I think Argentina were probably taken aback by the intensity our young pack showed.
“The boys dug in, but as happy and proud as we are of the performance, there is still plenty to work on. We’re delighted to come out with what is a very good result.”
Davies scored Wales’ first try on his second Test start and George North’s effort meant Gatland’s side went to the break 17-3 up. They never relinquished that lead.
Patchell added an early second-half penalty before being replaced by Gareth Anscombe and he was at pains to praise the pack in front of him for his team’s success.
Against some giant Pumas forwards, inexperienced Wales youngsters Elliot Dee, Dillon Lewis and Adam Beard all stepped up to the plate in impressive fashion.
“The boys went well. The forwards certainly did in the first 20 minutes and when they do that, it makes things a lot easier for us as backs,” Patchell added.
“Defensively we worked really, really hard and that was something we talked about during the week.
“It was a great atmosphere, fantastic. We knew it would be white hot with the crowd right on top of us and they didn’t disappoint, but that’s why you play international Rugby, to feature in front of such crowds. This was a good day.”
Wales were tough and obdurate in defence and they will now hope to seal their first Test series victory in Argentina since 1999.
After Anscombe started the 22-20 victory over South Africa in Washington, it was Patchell’s chance to begin against the Pumas. He hopes to hold on to the starting 10 shirt in Santa Fe.
Wales’ only slight injury concern for that game is Davies who has a hip knock.
“All I want to do is reward the team and keep them moving forward as that’s the role and responsibility that comes with playing 10,” Patchell said.
“The coaches will pick whoever they feel will do the best job for the team. On the whole I thought my performance was OK, but all I can concentrate on is being better next week than I was this.
“I need to work hard in training in the next few days and whatever happens, happens.
“We’ve talked about working together, having pride in our defence, and making it something that’s both critical to us and something we pride ourselves on.
“The forwards worked well and Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams led the line speed. We’ll be happy on the whole when we look at the video.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Following England’s 42-39 loss to South Africa, coach Eddie Jones was honest in assessing his team’s shortcomings.
England managed to blow a 21-point lead as South Africa inflicted a fourth successive Test defeat on Jones’ side.
“I thought the first 20 minutes we were at times brilliant and maybe we got seduced by the game and that might have been the cause for some uncharacteristic individual discipline errors, which allowed South Africa back in the game,” Jones said.
See what else Jones had to say in the video below.