Eddie Jones has hit back at "sad" predecessor Clive Woodward after the World Cup winning coach suggested he'd presided over the "worst week in English rugby history."
England finished the Autumn International series with just one win to their name, opening up with a 30-29 defeat to Argentina before a comfortable 52-13 triumph over Japan. A thrilling fightback against New Zealand then salvaged a 25-25 draw, but the campaign ended on a deflating note, the Red Roses outclassed by South Africa to go down 27-13 in a repeat of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
Woodward, who famously presided over England's only World Cup win in 2003, has been a frequent critic of his former rival. And he's even called for Jones - who will leave his role when his contract expires at the end of 2023 - to be sacked if the side loses their opening Six Nations game against Scotland in February.
"I feel sad for him [Woodward]," Jones told Men's Health UK. , when asked about the criticism. "If that is the best thing he has to do in his life, then he hasn't a lot to do."
And the Australian argued that he will leave the national side in a good place when he walks away after the World Cup in France: "I'm 62 now and I think in pure coaching terms I am coaching better than I ever have," he continued. "Results aren't always perfect, but I'm happy with how I have been coaching.
"After this, I want to do something really meaningful. I've enjoyed England a lot, it was a bit of a rescue job at the start, now rebuilding, and I am confident I will leave things in good shape."
Whether Jones, 62, even makes it into 2023 as head coach remains to be seen, after Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney admitted his position was under review after England were booed off against the Springboks.
“Like them [the fans] we are really disappointed with the results of the Autumn Nations Series,” said Sweeney. Despite strong individual performances and some great new talent coming into the team, the overall results are not where we expect them to be.”
Jones became England's first foreign head coach when he was offered the role in November 2015. As well as the World Cup final appearance, he's led the side to three Six Nations titles, including the 2016 Grand Slam.