The Zinzan Brooke column in the Telegraph on 15 March contains a couple of claims that he probably needs to revisit and amend.
1. England’s run isn’t really a joint record because they haven’t played the All-Blacks
I have tremendous respect for the run they have put together under Eddie Jones but if they have aspirations of calling themselves the best then they have to beat the best. It’s that simple. Until then the record will have an asterisk next to it.
If they beat Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday it will beat the All Blacks winning streak, but that’s not good enough for Brooke, the record will always have an asterisk against it.
Let’s be realistic here, nobody is claiming that getting that record will make England the best team in the World, just that they will have the record for the longest winning streak. So no, the asterisk can be left off the record.
To be the best team in the World, England will need to top the World rankings and to do that they will need to beat the All Blacks unless Steve Hansen’s side have a massive drop-off in form and start losing regularly.
Even if England get there then I’m sure Eddie Jones will not be satisfied with being no.1; His goal is to win the World Cup and I’m sure winning the WC will be the only thing that really satisfies him, even if they never reach no.1 in the World.
2. Eddie Jones secretly wants England to lose to he can judge their character better.
I just wonder whether part of Eddie secretly wants the run to end. You learn a lot more about your side and their character in defeat than you do in victory.
The idea the EJ is secretly hoping England lose so that he can learn something about them is also a bit farcical.
Does Brooke think he finishes today’s training session and thinks “Hmm, maybe this weekend against Ireland, yes that’s be a good one to lose. Then I can see who can’t handle the pressure of losing. No, on second thoughts not this weekend, but maybe we could lose when we play Argentina in November. At Twickenham. Yes that would really sort out who shouldn’t be in my team.”
I’m sure Eddie Jones want England to win every game up to and including the WC final in 2019. For Jones, I think the World Cup is unfinished business. He was one kick away from winning it in 2003 and took the England job because it was the best way to rectify that.
After that maybe he won’t mind so much if England lose.