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Sunday 17 December 2017

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is ignoring Eddie Jones' barbs

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is ignoring England opposite number Eddie Jones before the Six Nations finale
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is ignoring England opposite number Eddie Jones before the Six Nations finale

Joe Schmidt has told Ireland to ignore Eddie Jones' barbs and stick to their own game against England in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations finale.

England boss Jones attempted to mess with Ireland's heads by predicting "kick and clap" rugby from Schmidt's men - in other words a barrage of high bombs at the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland boss Schmidt laughed off the mind games however, insisting Saturday's hosts will not react to Jones' words - just as they ignored similar rhetoric this time last year.

When quizzed on Jones' comments, Schmidt said: "I haven't really seen it. There's always external noise and if we get distracted by that it's not going to be productive for us.

"And I think last year he might have said that we kicked 60 per cent of the ball that we had. And when it was mentioned to him that England kicked the ball more than we did it probably wasn't convenient at the time.

"So we'll do what we try to do best, and I know Eddie will have England really well-prepared to do what they do best, which is apply a heck of a lot of pressure.

"The outcome will be based around a variety of tactics, certainly not one."

England can register a second-successive grand slam for the first time since 1992 with victory in Dublin on Saturday.

A 19th consecutive win would also set a new outright world record, leaving England with no shortage of targets in Dublin.

Schmidt admitted he would pay far more attention to England's talent-laden back division than boss Jones' pre-match predictions.

Rejecting any kind of inside information from defence coach Andy Farrell on his son and England centre Owen though, Schmidt claimed every member of the visiting backline will pose a different threat.

"Yeah I've no doubt Andy knows Owen really well," said Schmidt of Andy and Owen Farrell.

"Andy hasn't really mentioned him in so far as giving any insights about the individual, but he's mentioned him as part of the team.

"You couldn't really identify George Ford and Owen Farrell and not mention Jonathan Joseph because he was incredibly dangerous last week and did a fantastic job for them last week.

"So any one of those three is an incredible threat and I think with George Ford and Owen Farrell there they've got a real variety in what they can do.

"They are both incredibly good kickers of the ball, their passing game is very strong.

"George Ford has great acceleration and Owen Farrell has great acceleration and hits good lines too.

"I think we've seen him all championship get advantage line, not because he's a huge guy. Ben Te'o coming off the bench can get it any which way he likes, but Owen just picks nice lines, good timing, and so we've obviously had a look at that, because we don't want him picking good lines and unpicking us."

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