Rugby

Eddie Jones backs decision to settle for draw : PlanetRugby

England head coach Eddie Jones backed his team’s decision to kick the ball off and accept a draw against the All Blacks rather than play for the win.

It was a sensational comeback from Jones’ men, who were trailing 25-6 to New Zealand with just eight minutes to play before three quick tries put the Red Rose level.

Will Stuart led the charge with a late brace while Freddie Steward scored the third try, but Marcus Smith was booed for kicking the ball late despite England’s numbers advantage with Beauden Barrett on the All Blacks bench.

behind the players

Jones believes those decisions are up to the players at the time and says he “trusts” the decision.

“It always depends on the fellow players. I trust your decision making. I’m not in the field. I don’t have access to them. I just trust his decision,” Jones said.

“We are disappointed that we didn’t win the game, but a draw is a draw and the dominance they had in the first half, we could have faded.

“You’ve seen teams better than us go down against the All Blacks and get beaten by 40 or 50 points. I’ve coached teams that have done that.

“When you’re absolutely pulverized by them, like we were in the first half, and you don’t stay in the fight, you can fly even more.

“We stayed in the fight, which I think the leadership of the team was outstanding. Owen (Farrell) did a great job in his 100th match with (Ellis) Genge and Jack Nowell. Then the other significant thing was the support from the crowd.

“The crowd was absolutely fantastic, which definitely got the players pumped, for which we are grateful to the 81,641 who were there. I don’t know what happened to the other 349!

“They’ll kick themselves but we expect a full 82,000 next week because it’s going to be a great game (against South Africa).”

Captain Owen Farrell played his 100th Test on Saturday against the All Blacks, also backing the decision to kick the ball out of play, revealing the team felt as though they didn’t have the ball on their front foot.

“We wanted to see where we were from the beginning. If we could move forward, move forward with our front foot, and we had an opportunity, then we wanted to take it. If not, we wanted to make a good decision. I think that’s what was done,” Farrell said.

“I think the confidence that the team showed in that second half was outstanding. I felt like we were always in the game.

“We stuck to it and we had the right belief today and I’m proud of the team for that.”

Jack Van Poortvliet had a difficult time against New Zealand, but Jones believes the experience is valuable for the young star.

“Brilliant young player, brilliant young player and that’s one of the best games for him where things don’t go well and you have to fight. That is where they learn a lot”, said the coach.

“And that’s the best 40 I’ve seen Marcus play in Test rugby. Aggressive, decisive and wanted to own the game, not as an individual but as part of the team, so I thought it was a big step forward for the youngster.”

surprising decision

Meanwhile, All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said he was surprised by England’s decision not to play for the win.

“I was surprised? Yes, she was. All I know is to turn it around, I would have liked our guys to have had a chance, so I’m not sure what their tactics were,” he admitted.

“We will certainly be more disappointed than they are. At the end of the day it’s a tie.

“We have come here and we have played some great rugby. In our mind, we should have walked away with the win.”

READ MORE: Autumn Nations Series: Five takeaways from England v New Zealand as hosts save their blushes after 70 minutes of All Blacks dominance

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