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In October 2015, England lost their second match of the Rugby World Cup to Australia after previously having been beaten in pool play by Wales. The hosts of the most successful RWC would not qualify for the quarter finals, embarrassed in front of the world on rugby’s quadrennial stage.
Gnashing of teeth. Donning of hair shirts.
Within weeks of the end of the 2015 RWC, the Rugby Football Union sacked losing head coach Stuart Lancaster and appointed Australian Eddie Jones, who masterminded Japan’s RWC upset over South Africa.
What could Jones do and how fast could he do it?
The answer came quickly in 2016 after England won their first Six Nations Grand Slam in 13-years with five match victories against the usual opposition. Only Wales’s loss by four points was close.
Another win against Wales by 14-points for six wins in row brightened the already positive spirits of rugby fans in England.
Then, the Red Roses headed Down Under to play three Tests against Australia, the same XV that eliminated England in the RWC. Result? A surprising, first of its kind three-game whitewash of the Wallabies at home. Now, nine victories in a row.
Heads were turning.
Welcome South Africa last Saturday to Twickenham, the same opponents whom England had not beaten in 12 prior games in ten years. Outcome? Victory number ten with a resounding 37-21 over the Boks.
A few Test matches left before the end of this fabulous 2016 year. But no Test scheduled against the All Blacks. The last game will be Australia at Twickenham. Karma?
Exciting times in England with all praise to Eddie Jones for his spectacular turn around result
(Photo: Prince Harry welcomes Princess Charlene of Monaco. She is a former Olympic swimmer for South Africa and wife of Prince Albert II.)