Post-Six Nations – which home nations head coaches are under pressure?
With the Six Nations over for another a year, and jubilation for France who not only won their first title since 2010, but also achieved the momentous feat of landing a Grand Slam by winning all five of their matches – for the home nations, there’s some soul-searching to do.
It proved to be a fairly uninspiring campaign by England and Wales, in particular – with the latter winning just once during the tournament. Attention will quickly turn to next year’s World Cup, which is being hosted by France – and Les Bleus are firm favourites, according to the latest rugby union odds.
First, there are the matter of the summer Test series to contest, with England making the trip to Australia, Scotland heading to Argentina, and Wales facing the world champions, South Africa. And it’s these three head coaches who are under pressure. Read on, as we dissect each of them.
England – Eddie Jones
The RFU are set to meet next week to discuss and dissect England’s disastrous Six Nations campaign – with Jones’ future as head coach in doubt. While the South African signed a contract extension keeping him in charge until the end of the 2023 World Cup, it is believed the RFU can trigger a release clause.
For the second year running, the Red Rose mustered up only two wins and this time, finished third, miles behind both winners France and runners-up Ireland. During their campaign, England scored just eight tries and while they were left licking their wounds, Jones conceded that the performances had not been good enough.
He told the media:
“I’m disappointed, disappointed for the fans, for the players, I obviously haven’t done a good enough job, I accept that, but we’re moving in the right direction. The results aren’t good enough.”
Scotland – Gregor Townsend
Scotland may have won more matches than both Wales and Italy, securing a fourth-placed finish in this year’s tournament, but their match against Ireland proved the catalyst of their campaign. In previous years, the two nations have contested close score lines, with Scotland on the losing end 24-27 in 2021 and 19-12 in 2020. This time was an absolute capitulation with Ireland winning 26-5 – leaving many pondering whether the Scots are going backwards.
A tournament to forget was capped off with the squad making the headlines for the wrong reasons off the field – in which, six players were disciplined for breach of team protocols. Captain Stuart Hogg had been complimentary of the performance against Ireland – with the consensus that he’s deluded and should step down, as well as head coach Townsend.
Wales – Wayne Pivac
It may have been a narrow defeat (22-21), but Wales’ loss to Italy in their last match of the Six Nations will be a major cause for concern. Italy had not won in 36 test matches and it not only marked their first victory in the tournament since 2015, but also a first against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The match was one to forget for Alun Wyn jones, who made history by becoming the first Welshman to earn 150 caps, while it was a landmark 100th appearance for Dan Biggar.
Former Welsh fly-half Jonathan Davies pulled no punches as he launched a tirade on BBC’s Scum V:
“If you lose to Italy, it’s sackable,” Jiffy said, before continuing:
“If they want to get rid of him, they can, it’s justifiable to do it. The performance was absolutely dreadful.”
And Welsh fans took to social media, demanding the Pivac walks away from the job.