2018 has been a year to forget for Eddie Jones. His England team fell to a fifth-place finish in the Six Nations and then lost two games against South Africa during their June series. Now, RFU chief executive Steve Brown has made it perfectly clear they expect improvements.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Brown described the Six Nations result as 'a pretty difficult situation.' With a World Cup on the horizon, the RFU will be pushing for a significant increase in performance: "I've discussed this with Eddie and I'm confident those disappointing results are behind us and can be turned around."
The pressure was evident last June when Jones was involved in a series of blunt exchanges with the press. With test matches against South Africa, Japan and Australia to come, the challenge does not get any easier over the coming months. Nevertheless Brown outlined in no uncertain terms that victory is an expectation.
We plan to win every game we play. We expect success in the autumn. I don't want to predict failure, I'd rather predict success, but that's not in blind faith. They're all big matches. We're planning to come out of the other side successful.
This is the second time this year Brown has spoken critically of the English underperformance. After the Six Nations, he expressed 'disappointed with the decline' in an interview with the Guardian. There is no doubt Jones will be aware of the significance of the upcoming fixtures.