Eddie Jones pushed the blame for his side’s loss against 14-man Australia in Perth on Saturday onto referee James Doleman as the pressure continues to grow on England’s head coach.
Henry Arundell and Jack van Poortvliet scored late tries, adding gloss to a disappointing performance as England slipped to a 30-28 defeat. It was their first loss in nine games against the Wallabies since Jones took over as coach in November 2015.
Darcy Swain’s red card in the 34th minute gave England a numerical advantage, but Jones believed the officials sought to compensate for Australia’s short handedness by skewing decisions in the home side’s favour.
“If you look at the history of the game, whenever you get a red card, the referee evens it up, that’s the history,” he said. “Social reciprocity. That happens mate. That’s normal. We’ve got to be good enough to handle that.”
The defeat against an undermanned Australia was the second in a row for England when facing teams reduced to 14 men after last month’s loss against the Barbarians ahead of their departure for the three-test series against Australia.
Jones has come under increasing scrutiny in England over his team’s faltering form in the lead-up to next year’s World Cup in France, with his side winning only twice since February.
“I’m always annoyed when we lose, that would be an understatement,” he said. “But I can’t question the commitment of the players. … It’s painful. But I know the guys are working hard and will keep working hard and we’re committed to win the series 2-1.”