Eddie Jones’ immediate future remains secure after the Rugby Football Union released a terse statement declaring that England’s embattled head coach retains its support.
Jones is under siege on multiple fronts as England’s tour to South Africa began to unravel in the Afrikaners’ heartland of Bloemfontein where the frustration of players and management boiled over.
The series was surrendered with a game to spare after Saturday’s 23-12 defeat at Free State Stadium registered a fifth successive Test loss that could plunge the team as low as sixth in the global rankings.
Jones is contracted until 2021 with a break clause dependent on performance at next year’s World Cup in place, but for now his position is safe despite the alarming slump that began in the recent Six Nations.
While the RFU declined to make chief executive Steve Brown or chairman Andy Cosslett available to publicly defend Jones, the governing body did issue a brief statement.
“The RFU supports Eddie Jones and his coaching team,” a spokeswoman said.
Evidence that the tension is affecting both players and coaches abounded at Free State Stadium, where Jones turned on a broadcaster by taking exception to the line of questioning.
When asked if he can reverse the slide, Jones told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’m one hundred per cent confident. One hundred per cent as you are aggressive.
“You’re nature is very aggressive, mate. That’s fine. I’m happy to answer that aggressive questioning.”