WATCH - Eddie Jones in foul-mouthed outburst as frustration pours out in England's 'grindathon' win over Argentina
A relieved Eddie Jones admitted his England side came through a “grindathon” in their 21-8 victory over Argentina on Saturday after launching a foul-mouthed outburst that was caught by television cameras, although the head coach did question whether Joaquin Tuculet should have seen a red card for his tackle on Mike Brown that forced the full-back off the field.
Brown landed head-first after claiming a high ball in an aerial challenge with his opposite number, and while the Argentina full-back got a hand to the ball, referee Marius van der Westhuizen deemed it worthy of a yellow card.
The South African referee reviewed the tackle using the television match official and decided that Tuculet was not in a position to catch the ball despite getting a touch on it, which given that Brown landed on his head, could have warranted a red card.
Brown was forced off in the 22nd minute, and Jones asked why the card shown to the 28-year-old Tuculet was not dismissed.
“He’s good,” Jones said of Brown’s condition. “He will have to do a return to play as he was hit pretty heavily. We lose a player for the whole game, they lose a player for 10 minutes.”
Pushed further on what he was suggesting, Jones simply replied: “I am not a referee.”
However, the Australian was clearly frustrated with his side’s performance regardless of the victory. Television cameras caught Jones thumping his desk and throwing his notepad in anger after flanker Sam Underhill was penalised inside the England 22, with Jones clearly shouting "F***, how f****** stupid are we?".
Although England secured the victory, the performance fell well short of where pre-match hopes wanted it to be.
“It was a grindathon wasn’t it,” Jones said.
“They [Argentina] played well, we were off the pace a little bit but I thought there were some things we did really well. The reality is we haven’t played a game since March together – we had players coming back from the Lions who had only done two training session so our fluency and our understanding was not there which is understandable.”
He added: “I haven’t seen it. How frustrated? Throwing stuff? That is pretty frustrated. We want to play well, we want to play good rugby and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be frustrated – it is one of those things.”
Part of England’s struggles may well have been due to the absence of Owen Farrell in midfield, with the Saracens back rested, and he could be seen taking a leaf out of Kieran Read’s book by running waterboy duties during the match in order to bring on advice to a side that was struggling to work out a resilient Pumas side.
Having been rested along with Maro Itoje, it’s not yet clear if the pair will come back into the side for next Saturday’s Test here against Australia, and Jones wouldn’t confirm what he has in store for the Saracens duo immediately after the game.
“We know how we want to play against Australia,” he said. “We’ve got a very clear vision of how we want to play against Australia and it should be fun. Owen did a great job as a waterboy – he could be a good waterboy next week!”