By Ali Stokes
England Head Coach Eddie Jones has been keen to highlight the positives of an early series defeat to South Africa this week, adamant that the back-to-back defeats that saw the series lost with a game in hand and brought England’s losing streak to six would benefit his side going forward.
Jones believes that his side will come out smelling of roses in the long run, backing his charges to take the lessons from their recent disappointment and build.
“You cannot just expect to keep winning endlessly,” he added. “You have these periods when it’s tough, but you have to battle through it. It builds resilience, it builds the character of your team, it builds memories and once you get out of it you get a stronger team.”
“We are disappointed to lose the series, these are tough times at the moment, but in terms of preparing for this week, we need to find a way to put our best performance out there on Saturday,” he said.
“We have a great bunch of players, couldn’t work with a better team, they are so committed to be the best they can be and at the moment we’re not – we know that and understand that – but we are working at finding ways to be better.
“You have to stay together and believe the way you are doing things is right. The team is very together; the group of players we have here are working really well together.
“We were better on the weekend, and we’ll be better this weekend.”
Jones was also keen to reassure fans that such slumps are not uncommon at Test level.
“Every team I’ve ever been involved with goes through these periods and you have to be able to get through it,” Jones said.
“They’re painful, and everyone knows better than you at the time, but once you get through it you have the hallmarks of a champion team and that is where we are going, I have no doubt about it.”
England head to Cape Town this weekend for the third and final Test, hoping to end the series on a positive note and avoid a whitewash. With Ellis Genge (knee), Billy Vunipola (fractured arm) and Mako Vunipola (to attend the birth of his son), Jones will be forced into a minimum of two changes this weekend, with Joe Marler and Nathan Hughes expected to step into the starting lineup.
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