Eddie attacked, Gatland claim Rassie threatened to cancel Lions tour, Samoa beat Tonga in PNC

Eddie Jones may have tried to change the narrative around the England tour and a huge second Test in Brisbane on Saturday, but his tenure is being compared to that of ousted Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

While the front-row battle between Taniela Tupou and Ellisa Genge has rugy fans excited and brought the bear out in both before kick-off at Suncopr Stadium, there is also an off-field power struggle and the second test will change momentum in one direction. the other.

Jones is no stranger to the mood swings of the English press kit, which now includes former heavyweight coaches and players. Game wardens have become poachers, if you will.

Former No.9 Austin Healey sums up the boom or bust approach to the England coaching job.

“You feel this game is a defining moment for Eddie Jones. At times he’s seemed impossible to take down – much like Boris Johnson was – and there were a couple of columns I said we had to support Eddie, and I still stand by it,” Healey wrote in the UK Telegraph.

But after listing the positives, including a flow of young talent, Healey shifted gears.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel. But for Eddie to be head coach in the fall he is going to need a defining game and he has to come on Saturday,” he wrote. If England play well and win, and their youngsters play, then he stays. But if he loses, I think Eddie is probably gone.

Sir Clive Woodward, the manager of the 2003 World Cup triumph, earns a pretty penny by hitting Jones at every opportunity in the Daily Mail.

Although Woodward seemed to support Jones’ inclusions of Tommy Freeman, Guy Porter and Jack van Poortvliet, he suggested that Jones had “watered down” the game by putting it in a World Cup context and claimed that “it doesn’t seem no structure or method behind the selection.

Eddie Jones (Photo by Bob Bradford – CameraSport via Getty Images)

He added: “The way the team is selected is all over the place. I wonder what the players think of the merry-go-round of the selection. Jones has over 30 players in Australia and it will not be a happy group.

Jones, meanwhile, has seen it all before and is focused on the opportunities presented.

“Those are the big opportunities for a team to move forward, those pressure plays where you know the streak is on the line. It’s a fantastic opportunity for a team to grow and for an experienced, solid pack and a young and exciting back line to show what kind of rugby they can play,” Jones said.

Rassie threatened to cancel Lions tour: Gatland

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland started out as a columnist for the UK Telegraph and he lifted the lid on his dispute with Rassie Erasmus during the Lions’ tour of South Africa last year.

In his latest column, Gatland claimed Erasmus threatened to have the tour canceled after the Lions failed to agree to a schedule change.

“The incredibly difficult circumstances of the tour made it all the more important for us to hold our ground and it would ultimately lead to the tour being tainted by the actions of Rassie Eramus, the Springboks’ director of rugby,” Gatland wrote.

“The controversy began when their game against Georgia was canceled due to an outbreak of Covid-19 on both sides. It was the last warm-up game for the Springboks before the start of the Test and Rassie series. desperately wanted us to play a second game against a ‘South Africa A’ side instead of the Stormers to give their players more playing time.

“But I felt strongly that it was important to stick to the schedule. What people may forget is that the opportunity to play against the Lions only comes around every 12 years and players from provincial teams l We had made a commitment to play against the South African teams and we didn’t want to take a game away from them.

“Rassie’s response on a Zoom call was to say his players would be out of camp and the tour would be halted. It was important for the Lions to keep their cool and I dismissed the threat.

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 02: South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus looks on ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final between England and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on November 02 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.  (Photo by Clive Rose - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

(Photo by Clive Rose – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

“Then Rassie asked the press whether we were afraid to play them and that led to my joke about him being the Springboks’ waterboy. We had seen Rassie running around the pitch with a bottle water, but instead we seemed to be giving instructions to his players during our loss to South Africa A.”

Gatland also gave his thoughts on Erasmus’ 62-minute video rant about Nic Berry’s decisions that have found their way into the public arena.

“In my mind, after winning the first test, he became so desperate to win the series that he felt like they were desperate to achieve it, and the next thing was that the video of Rassie criticizing the performance of Nic Berry the referee and his officials would have been disclosed,” Gatland wrote.

“I felt so sorry for Nic. He’s a good young referee. I had a chat with him at the end of the tour and he was devastated by the allegations, and I have no doubts in my mind. that the video had an influence on officiating in the rest of the series.

Samoa beat Tonga in PNC

Hooker Ray Niuia scored a hat-trick on tries as Samoa fought back from a half-time deficit to hand Tonga a 34-18 defeat at Churchill Park in the Pacific Nations Cup.

Niuia capitalized on Veikoso Poloniati’s sin early in the second half to overturn Tonga’s 18-10 lead at the break as the Samoans used the strength of their forwards to devastating effect to secure victory at Lautoka on Saturday .

Tonga suffered a heavy loss to Fiji in their opener last week, and there was no room in the squad for former Wallabies center Israel Folau or ex-All Blacks Malakai Fekitoa and Charles Pitau.

Despite missing the top trio, Tonga took control early with a pair of penalties from James Faiva followed by tries from Fetuli Paea and Poloniati as their side took an 18-3 lead into the opening 30 minutes .

But Niuia put the finishing touches as the Samoan maul put the Tongans away in the 35th minute and, six minutes into the second half, the hooker repeated his performance to close the gap even further.

By then Poloniati had seen the yellow card for tackling Jonathan Taumateine ​​without the ball and, in the 53rd minute, Niuia completed his hat trick by peeling off the back of the maul to score in the corner.

Tumua Manu increased Samoa’s advantage when he stole the ball with an interception inside the Tonga half to run unopposed and Theo McFarland’s rebound and drive added to the scoreline as Samoa finally prevailed.

Fiji will be looking to claim their second victory in this year’s competition later on Saturday when they take on Australia A, who lost their opener to Samoa last week.

(With Reuters)

Charles P. Patton