Sunday 30 April 2017

Jones brushes off history for England to paint their own picture

England head coach Eddie Jones. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
England head coach Eddie Jones. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Duncan Bech

Eddie Jones has demanded England discard history by refusing to buy into the theme of Welsh supremacy in Cardiff when their Six Nations title defence resumes on Saturday.

Jones has highlighted a poor record during previous trips across the Severn Bridge, viewing the statistic of 21 wins from 61 visits dating back to 1882 as an anomaly.

England launched their campaign with a laboured 19-16 victory over France at Twickenham and Jones knows they will be ambushed in Wales if they do not adopt the right psychology.

"I've spoken to a number of people. There's a certain story people like to paint when you're playing Wales," Jones said.

"If you get involved in painting that picture, you get involved in the painting. We don't want to be involved in the painting, we want to paint our own picture.

"And the picture we paint isn't going to be the picture that was painted in the past."

Jones on Saturday described the victory against France as "awful", but on analysing the performance in more detail he has revised his verdict.

Dropped

"Having watched the video again, we actually didn't play that badly," Jones said. "If you take away three or four easy dropped passes and some, at times, fragile defence, the majority of our game was pretty sound. The scrum improved a lot.

"We didn't attack like England until the last 20 minutes of the game and our stats in that period were absolutely outstanding in terms of work rate, execution and effort.

"It was one of those games that looked worse when you saw it live, but having watched it again we weren't far away from the money and we're certainly on the way to playing a very good game against Wales."

The Welsh, meanwhile, will hope that fly-half Dan Biggar and wing George North can shrug off knocks picked up during Saturday's victory against Italy.

Biggar went off at half-time in Rome, while try-scorer North took an early blow to his thigh, but stayed on and finished the game by claiming a long-range solo touchdown.

The Wales squad flew home by charter flight from Rome on Sunday night, with thoughts quickly turning to England after a 33-7 Stadio Olimpico success.

"Dan has taken a bump to his ribs, but we will wait for more medical information on that," Wales interim head coach Rob Howley said.

"George took an early bump, he has a haematoma on his thigh. I am delighted he stayed on. I thought he showed some mental toughness, which is important in games when you come away from home."

Irish Independent

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