England’s performance during a dismal autumn has fallen below expectations, the Rugby Football Union has acknowledged.
In a statement that declined to give head coach Eddie Jones its backing, the RFU confirmed that a review panel will stage its customary inquest into the campaign and “how improvements can be made ahead of the Six Nations”.
“We would like to thank England fans for their patience and support, it matters to us how they feel,” chief executive Bill Sweeney said.
“Like them we are really disappointed with the results of the Autumn Nations Series.
Despite strong individual performances and some great new talent coming into the team, the overall results are not where we expect them to be.”
Jones defended his credentials after he watched England produce a rudderless display with a 27-13 loss to South Africa at Twickenham.
Tries from Kurt-Lee Arendse and Eben Etzebeth either side of half-time helped the Springboks ease to a comfortable victory in west London with Faf de Klerk adding an 11-point haul while Damian Willemse kicked two drop goals.
World champions South Africa finished with 14 men after Thomas du Toit’s 61st-minute red card for a no-arms tackle on Luke Cowan-Dickie but Henry Slade’s late score was all England could muster during a drab finale to the autumn internationals.
It meant Jones’ side suffered another defeat, their sixth from 12 Tests in the calendar year, which is their worst run since 2008.
The Springboks’ dominance across the pitch was reminiscent of their 2019 World Cup final triumph and, despite England going backwards since their runners-up showing in Japan, their Australian head coach insisted they could have a “really good go” at next year’s tournament in France.
“We want to win. We don’t want to get beat by a big score to South Africa and don’t want to have the worst record since 2008 so it is a problem but I accept full responsibility for that,” Jones said.
“Obviously on results we are not happy but I feel like we are building a really good base to have a really good go at the World Cup, a really good go.
“A number of young players got great experience today and they’ll come back better players for that. We’ve got other players coming back to form, some of our more senior players and we’re not far away.
“We need to develop consistently. Test match rugby is all about consistency.”