Eddie Jones will have to change his ways if England are going to have a chance of winning the World Cup next year.
Jones has an ego – he can be stubborn and impulsive – and we hear it in his conversations with the media.
There were rumours he got very close to being shown the door both before and during this tour. He is apparently quite challenging verbally away from the team and if the losses had continued the noise would have only got louder and stronger.
The victory over South Africa in the third Test takes the emphasis away from him, but there is no respite. There are adjustments to be made and he has to realise some of those adjustments are with himself.
‘Engage the brain before opening the mouth’
Eddie always tries to set the narrative when he talks to the media, but in reality the game sets the narrative.
Before the tour he said he wanted England to go to South Africa and win 3-0, and that was typically bullish of him.
He doesn’t hold back when talking about ambition and intent and maybe one of the lessons he’s learnt from this tour is to re-think what he says, how he says it and when he says it.
There is the old saying ‘engage the brain before opening the mouth’ and he needs to do this sometimes. He needs to stop battling the press and when they ask silly questions, ignore them. It’s not clever to tell the media he’s left 25 players behind in England.
He’s been around a long time so it’s difficult to change but there’s no reason why he can’t adjust. No-one is asking him to change completely, but certainly some adjustment is required.
What worked for him in Australia and in Japan doesn’t always work in England. He said he was going to build on what England’s strengths are. He did this in the third Test but they were horribly missing in the first two.
‘Farrell and Cipriani are two alpha males’
Eddie Jones made a mistake not playing Danny Cipriani in the first Test in Johannesburg. The fast track would have suited him, he’d have loved it out there and it was the wrong decision to leave him out.
There are going to be injuries at the World Cup next year and you’ve got to have other players who are ready. Jones knows what the partnership of George Ford and Owen Farrell brings – they’re mates and rugby buddies.
Cipriani has had to come from the outside. Him and Farrell are both alpha males and it’s an entirely different relationship to Ford and Farrell at 10 and 12. Ford would be more submissive in that partnership and while Danny might have to be submissive to begin with, his natural way would be to call the shots.
We saw this in Cape Town. Cipriani’s performance was measured and controlled – it was just what was required in those conditions. He then had one moment where his instinct took over and he kicked that ball for Jonny May’s try.
Farrell’s reaction to that kick has been talked about a lot since Saturday. He turned away looking frustrated when Cipriani kicked the ball into the corner – but Danny didn’t have much choice.
As a captain, Farrell should not be doing that and as a player, he should have been chasing the ball. Questions will now be asked, and far from what Eddie Jones normally does, the best way to deal with it is for Farrell just to be open, front up and say “I wanted the ball but it worked out and we got a try”.
Forward pack ‘got in a rut’
What was also hugely disappointing for Eddie Jones and England was the way their forwards fell off in the first Test and couldn’t re-group. The performances of the forwards were well below expectation. They were in a rut that they were unable to escape from.
The England management have never admitted that the players were affected by the altitude and unless they admit, we are just left guessing. But the way they dropped off after the first 20 minutes and came back in the last 15 in Johannesburg suggests it took them a long time to get their second wind.
When Nick Isiekwe was taken off after 36 minutes in the first Test, he had fallen off a cliff. He was shattered and could not get his legs going. You could see for yourself the reason he was taken off and yet the England camp said it wasn’t anything to do with the altitude.
But what we don’t need to guess at is the poor technical ability of the forwards at dealing with slow ball. The individuals were just not mentally right.
When England raced into that 21-point lead in the first Test they needed to put in clever, tactical kicks and make the Springboks run. But the execution of the kicking was several levels below what they can do.
The worst aspect of the back play on this tour was clearly the kicking. When they had decent ball some of the passing was excellent. I struggle to find any fault with what they did and they were even playing out of their own 22. They were living off scraps but if you don’t kick well, you’ve got even less to work with.
England’s bench ‘non-existent’
In general there was little or no impact from the bench in South Africa and it was almost non-existent.
Eddie was hoping the finishers could do what they did in the first 20 games of his regime but, as we saw in the Six Nations, the individuals he brought on could not add to an already poor performance. The subs were mainly coming on to a pile of rubbish.
In the third and final Test in Cape Town, however, the players managed to execute a gameplan. They weren’t tired and they weren’t frustrated. They only gave away six penalties and it was a total reverse of the games at altitude because of the conditions.
Jeremy was talking to BBC Sport’s Louise Gwilliam