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Eddie Jones insists he has ‘NO regrets’ about his tactics during England’s Six Nations loss...

Eddie Jones insists he has ‘NO regrets’ about his tactics during England’s Six Nations loss to Scotland as the head coach vows his side will ‘light up’ Italy on Sunday… but it’ll be without flanker Lewis Ludlam

England’s Six Nations campaign began with a frustrating 20-17 loss at Scotland
England head coach Eddie Jones was criticised for his substitutions during game
Jones is looking for his side to bounce back when they travel to Italy on Sunday
They’ll be without Lewis Ludlam, who suffered a rib injury in the Scotland defeat
Fit-again Joe Launchbury has been called up to the squad to replace Ludlam 

By Chris Foy for the Daily Mail
Published: 12:37 GMT, 8 February 2022 | Updated: 22:32 GMT, 8 February 2022

Eddie Jones delivered a bullish riposte to his critics on Tuesday when England’s head coach insisted he has ‘no regrets’ over taking off Marcus Smith before the last-quarter collapse at Murrayfield.
The national team’s 20-17 defeat against Scotland in the Six Nations opener has generated a furious backlash, after George Ford was sent on to replace Smith in the 63rd minute.

Jones yesterday dismissed the condemnation of his decision-making, while offering a detailed explanation of the thought process applied to each change.

Eddie Jones has hit back at critics for his decision making during England’s loss at Scotland

‘I am in charge of it, so my opinion is the only one that counts,’ he said. ‘We have a plan, like every coach does, but we adjust it to what is happening in the game.
‘I don’t have any regrets about what happened on Saturday in terms of the replacements we made. As you know we got a yellow card which upset the apple cart. The big thing for me is we’ve got a squad of 23 and we want to maximise the squad of 23.’

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When asked to explain the rationale he and his assistants apply to the deployment of their bench, Jones added: ‘How much time a replacement gets depends on the performance of the starting guy and what he has been showing at training. It is quite a complicated equation. It is not as simple as maybe it is made out to be.
‘It changes every game so there is not one formula. What we try to do is to assess the momentum in the game and assess whether we can make some changes to add to the momentum of the game or change it, so that’s one thing.
‘Secondly, we look at the major contests in the game. Where are we winning? Where can we add to that? And if we’re not winning, what are the contests we need to start winning, to win the game?

The decision to replace Marcus Smith (left) for George Ford was roundly criticised post-match

‘Thirdly, you are looking at the performance of the player who started — not only in terms of his skill, but also in terms of his physical capacity — and the sort of game it is, whether it’s a higher-running game or a slightly slower game with a lot of breaks. Then we’re looking at the form of the finishers — how impressive have they been during the week? Can they add to this situation?
‘Do we have a plan going into the game? We have a rough plan. But we don’t just follow the plan. We try to make decisions based on what we’re seeing and what we’re feeling. It’s about your observation and your gut feel, which is based on some data.
‘I’ve got four assistant coaches feeding into me as well. We try to collate those and sometimes it will be based on what they say and what they feel and sometimes based on what I feel. We try to come to the best decisions.’
One issue which is carefully considered is the onset of fatigue, especially deep into the second half of high-intensity Tests, such as the one against Scotland.

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Jones added: ‘Each of the players has a stress signal of when they’re tired. We learn that about the players. When we take a player off it’s because they’ve shown us they’re in physical distress and don’t have much left in the tank.’
He was asked if this was the reason behind the withdrawal of Smith but was unwilling to clarify.

Lewis Ludlam has been ruled out of England’s Six Nations clash with Italy due to a rib injury

Wasps’ Joe Launchbury has been included in the squad to replace him ahead of the Rome trip

There has been an avalanche of criticism, but Jones brushed it off. ‘Everybody has a judgment but I’ve been a TV commentator and I was the smartest coach in the world,’ he quipped. ‘I got everything right. It is easy with replays to get everything right.
‘I don’t listen to what’s being said. If you’re a guy who involves themselves in the media and social media, you’re opening yourself up to all the good things that are being said and the not-so-good things. I’ve made a decision, personally, that I’m not going to involve myself in that.
‘When I was with the Wallabies, I allowed the criticism to get to me and it affected my relationships with the players. That’s why I don’t pay any attention to the media. I get on with the job.’
England reconvened at their Surrey HQ yesterday to prepare for Sunday’s clash with Italy in Rome. Veteran Wasps lock Joe Launchbury has been called up, but Northampton flanker Lewis Ludlam, outstanding in Edinburgh, is out with a rib injury.

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Courtney Lawes appears unlikely to recover from concussion in time to face the Azzurri. Harlequins centre Luke Northmore has been left out of the training squad due to a hamstring injury. London Irish back-rower Tom Pearson, 21, has been called up.

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