Tuesday 19 September 2017

WATCH - England boss Eddie Jones explains the enormous black eye he sported at the Six Nations launch

Britain Rugby Union - RBS Six Nations Media Launch - The Hurlingham Club, Ranelagh Gardens, London - 25/1/17 England Head Coach Eddie Jones during the RBS Six Nations Media Launch Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Britain Rugby Union - RBS Six Nations Media Launch - The Hurlingham Club, Ranelagh Gardens, London - 25/1/17 England Head Coach Eddie Jones during the RBS Six Nations Media Launch Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Julian Bennetts

Eddie Jones says he hurt his face slipping in his hotel bathroom as the England head coach arrived at the Six Nations launch sporting a black eye and bandage over his left cheekbone.

The Australian joked he had injured himself taking part in mixed martial arts but later admitted he had taken a tumble getting out of the shower after forgetting to shave. Jones is confident he will have made a full recovery in time to oversee Thursday’s training session.

The incident overshadowed the traditional competition launch and Jones’ announcement that Dylan Hartley had been retained as captain despite being hit with a six week ban after being sent off in Northampton’s defeat to Leinster in December.

Read more: The Left Wing: Luke Fitzgerald explains how Ireland's out-half situation could hurt their preparation

Jones only told Hartley he had been reappointed captain during his press conference and the hooker revealed he has been working on his tackling technique in order to avoid a repeat of the tackle on Sean O’Brien that saw him dismissed.

Hartley also said he feared he was going to be stripped of the captaincy but it was the state of Jones’ eye that dominated proceedings.

“The eye isn't bad - first we had Judo, then MMA [Mixed Martial arts],” Jones joked. “We were just seeing what effect they have on the body.

“I slipped over in the hotel this morning. My Mother told me I always have to shave, I forgot to shave, I walked out of the shower to get the shaver and this is what happens. I'll be alright. I'll be at training on Thursday and ready to go.”

And Jones is also confident his captain is equally ready for action and will suffer no ill-effects from his enforced absence - one which takes his total time banned from the game to 60 weeks.

“He's had 60 weeks off! He's the world expert at it,” said Jones when asked whether Hartley would be ready for action having been out of the game for so long.

“I think he is ready to go. He still has a couple of days to go, but we are pleased to have him back.” Hartley, though, admitted he was worried he was going to be stripped of the captaincy despite enjoying a perfect first year in charge as England won all of their 14 games.

“Did I worry I might have put the captaincy in jeopardy? Of course,” said Hartley.

“I always reflect and do it most days. Being part of this group is a privilege. We want to be the best team in the world and to be a part of that and feel it is going somewhere is a privileged. I have had a good reality check.

“I have been working very hard on my tackle technique. We always want to tackle low. For me it's about bringing my arms tighter to my body and following through with shoulder and then arm.

“We have to adapt as the sanctions for high tackles have changed and we need to look after player safety. We are seeing more cards and we have to adapt.”

Telegraph.co.uk

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