Why Eddie Jones is the right man for the job
I might just need to put an apology up front on this blog to anyone who isn’t an England rugby fan – however I promise there’s a great leadership link in their too.
I was lucky enough this year to actually go to a couple of six nations matches, something my husband and I have always wanted to do. We saw England v Ireland at Twickenham and also Italy v England in Rome – on Valentines weekend!! We thoroughly enjoyed both matches, and in Rome even got the chance to go to a ‘meet the coaches event’ where Eddie Jones and his two assistant coaches were the guests of honour. Fantastic night for two avid rugby fans!
Naturally as England supporters we were even more delighted that we won the Grand Slam, especially given where we’d been during the World Cup and the huge disappointment we’d felt about such an early exit.
However I’m not writing this blog to brag about my rugby adventures, and believe me I could easily prattle on about them for ages; but more to discuss a particular interview Eddie Jones gave to the BBC, just after it was clear England had won the title.
Jill Douglas was the interviewer and she asked him ‘so who has really stood out for you in this England team over the course of the tournament?’
Now anyone who had been watching all the England games might have expected him to answer without hesitation Billy Vunipola, who had quite simply played fantastic rugby in just about every game, had won man of the match in three of the five matches and had quite rightly received all the plaudits from the press. However this was not the name Eddie gave Jill, instead he singled out – Chris Robshaw.
So what makes this so interesting?
Well you need to understand that Chris Robshaw was England’s beleaguered captain for the world cup. Following their early exit he took quite a lot of the bad press, was critised for not been inspirational enough and has even publicly admitted he made a mistake in the game against Wales not to kick the late penalty, which would in all probability have seen them draw or even win the match and so advance from the group stages. Shortly after Eddie Jones took over as coach he was demoted from captain and replaced by Dylan Hartley. So why on earth was Eddie now mentioning him as the most impressive England player?
There is no doubt, without the pressure of the captaincy Robshaw had played with more freedom and flair, contributing well to the team’s success – testimony to his own personal and professional standards and his ability to bounce back from adversity.
For me, Eddie Jones demonstrated great leadership when he uttered Chris’s name to Jill, it would have been so much easier to go with the superstar Billy, but instead he chose to single out the man who had been so flattened by the events of 2015. We can only imagine the impact of Eddie’s statement on Chris – it was a fantastic public acknowledgment of all his hard work (most of it behind the scenes) and a brilliant endorsement of a much maligned figure.
Billy had already received the applause and press he so rightly deserved – Chris had not, and as a leader Eddie was making sure this was put right.
How often do the superstars in your team get all the plaudits, and the people who are working hard in the background get either unintentionally ignored or forgotten? As a leader it’s about recognising everyone’s contribution and making sure they all feel valued and have a part to play in the overall team success.
Eddie Jones showed us all how to do this very skilfully. In my opinion the future looks bright for England rugby with him at the helm.
Til next time
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