England head coach Eddie Jones insists back-to-back Six Nations defeats will prove beneficial to his stuttering side as they continue their preparations for next year’s World Cup.
After winning 24 of 25 Tests since the appointment of Jones, England have since suffered losses to Scotland and France to end their hopes of a third successive Six Nations crown.
Jones spoke of his concern over England’s breakdown deficiencies following his side’s 22-16 to France on Saturday, which handed Ireland the championship, but the Australian believes the setbacks could ensure long-term gain.
“Sometimes success covers over cracks in the team,” said Jones. “We have been aware of those cracks, but sometimes you need someone to come in and whack a sledgehammer on it to open it up and get real change.
“So this hasn’t been damaging, it has actually been absolutely beneficial, as painful as the results have been. What you have to be careful of here is not listening to the amount of opinion that is out there. There are shadows in any room.
“We understand what the problem is and we understand how to fix it. Now we have to fix it.”
England are expected to welcome back skipper Dylan Hartley for Saturday’s showdown with Grand Slam-chasing Ireland at Twickenham. Hartley missed the tussle with Les Bleus with a calf problem.
Jones added: “Dylan did some running today, it is probably looking more positive than negative. Calf injuries can be a bit tricky.”