Daily Digest: Austin Healy says Eddie Jones is the Jose Mourinho of rugby

Alex Broun 21/09/2018
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Good morning!

The Sport360 team are here bringing you our top stories on Friday.

As ever, get in touch with us throughout the day via Twitter and Facebook.

TOP STORY

England coach Eddie Jones must change his attitude if the Red Rose are to rise to the heights previously ascended under the Australian, says Austin Healy.

The former utility back believes England are currently residing in no man’s land, having previously been on the cusp of sharing the same rarefied air as world champions New Zealand following a revolution upon Jones’ arrival two years ago.

To read what Austin had to say at the Emirates Airlines Dubai Sevens Long Lunch CLICK HERE

Healey was speaking at Thursday's Emirates Airline Rugby Long Lunch, an event in the build-up to the Dubai Sevens, taking place from November 29-December 1 this year.

Healey was speaking at Thursday’s Emirates Airline Rugby Long Lunch, an event in the build-up to the Dubai Sevens, taking place from November 29-December 1 this year.

FOOTBALL

Chelsea are much more used to sitting at Europe’s top table as opposed to dining with the likes of PAOK – and they looked as if they didn’t really have an appetite in Greece as they laboured to an opening 1-0 Europa League victory.

Willian was their matchwinner in Thessaloniki but the scoreline could have been much greater had the Blues not been so woeful in the final third of the pitch.

To read the astute Matt Jones player ratings CLICK HERE

Willian was on target for Chelsea

Willian was on target for Chelsea

CRICKET

Shan Masood has described Afghanistan’s bowling attack as the strongest in the Asia Cup and insists Pakistan will not take them lightly ahead of their Super Four match on Friday.

The two nations make the trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi as they look to begin the stage on a winning note after qualifying from their respective group.

To read what Masood had to say CLICK HERE

Rashid Khan (r) is one of the lethal bowlers in cricket today.

Rashid Khan (r) is one of the lethal bowlers in cricket today.

FEATURE

Los Angeles Rams jump to number one in NFL power rankings heading into Week 3

With Week 2 of the new NFL season in the books, our USA sports expert Jay Asser is starting to get a clearer look at the league.

After holding the top spot last week, the New England Patriots were knocked off their perch by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game.

The Los Angeles Rams, meanwhile, continued to take care of their business with another dominant win. In every facet, the Rams are looking like world-beaters and every bit worth the ‘super team’ tag they were bestowed after a busy offseason.

Check out Jay’s power rankings heading into Week 3 HERE.

Rans

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Gallagher Premiership   Newcastle Falcons v Exeter Chiefs            22:45   OSN Sports 4 HD

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PGA European Tour         Portugal Masters – Round 2, Morning      14:30   OSN Sports 3 HD

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Austin Healey says Eddie Jones must change attitude to rescue England's World Cup dream

Matt Jones 20/09/2018
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England coach Eddie Jones must change his attitude if the Red Rose are to rise to the heights previously ascended under the Australian, says Austin Healy.

The former utility back believes England are currently residing in no man’s land, having previously been on the cusp of sharing the same rarefied air as world champions New Zealand following a revolution upon Jones’ arrival two years ago.

Many would argue England stood toe-to-toe with the mighty All Blacks, having won 17 straight games after Jones took charge.

Their 60-3 hammering of Uruguay in their final group game as they exited the 2015 Rugby World Cup on home soil in embarrassment at the first hurdle started a record-equaling 18-match winning streak – shared with the mighty men from the land of the long white cloud for Tier 1 nations.

Jones led a new-look England to two Six Nations titles – one a Grand Slam – as well as a 3-0 conquest of Australia, a 2-0 whitewash of Argentina and victory over South Africa.

Since a 13-9 defeat to Ireland in Dublin in the 2017 Six Nations, however – a result that ended hopes of a Grand Slam repeat – the wheels have come off the chariot.

England were flying under Eddie Jones early on, including a 3-0 series whitewash of Australia.

England were flying under Eddie Jones early on, including a 3-0 series whitewash of Australia.

Of the last 13 games, England have won only eight, including a run of five defeats in a row, with those five coming in their last six games. Only a 25-10 triumph in a 2-1 series loss to South Africa this summer stopped the rot. And now their 2019 World Cup dreams lie in tatters.

“They’ve gone from potentially the best side in the world alongside New Zealand to being, well, who knows,” said Healey bluntly, speaking at the annual Emirates Airline Rugby Long Lunch to launch the Dubai Rugby Sevens on Thursday.

“Who knows where they are. And I think that’s probably the story of Eddie Jones. He’s gone through his two-year cycle. Everyone thought he’d be brilliant for two years and then he’d hit the buffers and that’s what’s happened.

“Loads of staff have left, he’s fired a few people, loads of people at the RFU have been removed from their positions, there seems to be a lot of instability, which seems to be the way with it at the moment. Instability is the new norm.”

England went from missing out on successive Six Nations Grand Slams in 2017 to fifth this year – with only Italy below them. It was their worst finish in the competition since 1987.

“I don’t think they’ve got a better chance of finishing higher in the Six Nations this year,” Leicester Tigers legend Healey added, only half tongue in cheek.

“I think they have only two games at home this year, right, the blues at home, France, Scotland and Italy, and everyone else away.

“It’s the tougher round of fixtures this usually. If we can get a win in Wales and then fingers crossed. But they start off in Ireland which isn’t the best start. It’s a tough one.”

Jones has previously been described as the Jose Mourinho of the rugby world – a Jekyll and Hyde character.

Undoubtedly a brilliant and successful coach who can galvanise players and transform teams. But, ultimately, it doesn’t last as his divisive character and ego eventually sees him wear his welcome out.

Healey was speaking at Thursday's Emirates Airline Rugby Long Lunch, an event in the build-up to the Dubai Sevens, taking place from November 29-December 1 this year.

Healey was speaking at Thursday’s Emirates Airline Rugby Long Lunch, an event in the build-up to the Dubai Sevens, taking place from November 29-December 1 this year.

And Healey feels Jones may well be entering Mourinho ‘third season syndrome’ territory – the Portuguese has never held a coaching job for more than three seasons, and believes the former Japan coach doesn’t have a life away from rugby.

“I said when he took over he’s brilliant at breaking the status quo,” added Healey, capped 51 times by England and scorer of 15 tries, as well as the owner of two British & Irish Lions caps.

“But for him to be a long term success he has to break his own status quo of constantly playing mind games with people, because you need some continuity, continuity of coaching staff. You need relaxed players. So you can make progress naturally.

“The guys (coaching staff) were getting emails at 05:30 in the morning and expected to answer them by 6am. I’d answer it by 6pm the following day if I was working for him but you’ve got to have a life. I don’t think you breed any new ideas if you’re so engrossed in the sport.”

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Ex-New Zealand lock Ali Williams says All Blacks can be beat at World Cup - but won't

Matt Jones 20/09/2018
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Ali Williams won 77 caps for the All Blacks.

Ali Williams seemingly offers hope, briefly, before snatching it away.

When it’s asked of the giant former international lock whether rivals can be buoyed by the All Blacks’ loss to South Africa in the Rugby Championship last weekend, he dangles hope.

“Yeah, I believe they can lose,” says the 77-times capped Kiwi.

He’s answering a question about whether the best team in the world can be stopped at next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

“Will they? No. That’s just my humble view, but I don’t think they will be beaten.”

The Springboks’ thrilling 36-34 win in Wellington last Saturday caused consternation in the rugby world – the seemingly infallible juggernauts of international rugby aren’t so invincible.

Beauden Barrett had a day to forget in the South Africa defeat.

Beauden Barrett had a day to forget in the South Africa defeat.

It was the men from the land of the long white cloud’s first defeat in 10 games and just their fourth loss in 34 games since lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy in London nearly three years ago. It was the Boks’ first win in New Zealand since 2009 as they halted a run of 11 straight defeats to the men in black.

“I think you’ve already answered that, if you look at the game from the weekend,” Williams, 37, said when asked about the possibility of New Zealand being stopped from winning a third World Cup title in a row in 2019.

“A game of rugby is very much on the day and what you’ve done mentally, physically where you’re at, South Africa proved that on the weekend.

“If you play right, get inside people’s heads and if you change the norm, then you can win. Which is the beauty of rugby and we don’t want to take that away.”

The former Blues and Crusaders man, however, believes that the South Africa defeat might well have served to only poke the beast.

“Yeah, it’s made you look in the mirror and that the mirror’s probably telling you the wrong answer and we’re not as good as we think we are,” said Williams, speaking at the annual Emirates Airline Rugby Long Lunch to launch the Dubai Rugby Sevens on Thursday.

“Which is I think exactly what they want, a true reflection of where they are. I don’t believe they’ll change a lot but they’ll look at themselves individually and collectively and ask ‘how are we going to get better, how are we going to challenge ourselves more, because we can’t let those things happen’.”

South Africa celebrate a historic win.

South Africa celebrate a historic win.

Williams and former England and British & Irish Lions back Austin Healey entertained nearly 1,000 people at the event in Festival City, which is part of the excitement and build-up for the Dubai Sevens, taking place from November 29-December 1 this year.

“Loss inspires you,” added Williams, who represented the All Blacks at the 2003, 2007 and 2011 World Cups – earning a winners’ medal on home soil seven years ago.

“It’s not just fish and chip paper the next day, it’s until you prove yourself again in New Zealand. That’s a good thing and a great pressure to have. And it brings the best out of people. It challenges the team and the environment, everyone, so I think it’s good.”

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