The Rugby Football Union (RFU) on Tuesday slammed Eddie Jones over his private
school system criticism
Jones, 62, claimed the pathway produced players who had enjoyed a “closeted life”
and lacked “resolve” in a weekend interview with the i newspaper.
Eight of the England squad that won July’s Test decider in Australia were fully or
partially privately schooled.
Jones had been reminded of the “valued role” the sector played, the RFU said.
“The RFU is hugely appreciative and supportive of the role both the independent and
state school sectors play in introducing boys and girls to our sport and in our player
pathway,” a statement added.
“A collaborative approach and strong partnerships within the education sector ensure
players are supported and offered opportunities to develop at all schools.
“The most recent England men’s squad contained players who have benefited from
time within independent schools, including Maro Itoje and Henry Arundell, as well as
many from the state sector including Jonny Hill and Courtney Lawes.
“As a union, we are always working to broaden the appeal and accessibility of rugby
union to boys and girls from a wide range of backgrounds.”
The union said its chief executive Bill Sweeney had spoken personally to the oft-
outspoken Australian head coach, whose contract at Twickenham expires after next
year’s World Cup, about his comments.
Jones had claimed in his interview that “you are going to have to blow the whole
thing up” as the system yielded young players who struggled to lead because
“everything’s done for you”.
“When we are on the front foot we are the best in the world,” Jones added. “When we
are not on the front foot our ability to find a way to win, our resolve, is not as it
The independent sector produced most of England’s 2003 World Cup winning squad
and the head coach of that side, Sir Clive Woodward, has labeled Jones’ criticism
“insulting, divisive and disrespectful”.