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Thursday 21 November 2019

Joe Schmidt v Eddie Jones head-to-head

Joe Schmidt is to return to his native New Zealand after the World Cup while Eddie Jones’ position is subject to performance at Japan 2019.

Eddie Jones (left of trophy) and Joe Schmidt (right of trophy) could go head to head for the last time on Saturday (John Walton/PA)
Eddie Jones (left of trophy) and Joe Schmidt (right of trophy) could go head to head for the last time on Saturday (John Walton/PA)

By Duncan Bech, Press Association Sport England Rugby Correspondent, Vilamoura

Two coaching giants are set to meet for the last time in the Six Nations when Ireland and England clash in Dublin on Saturday.

Joe Schmidt is to return to his native New Zealand after the World Cup while Eddie Jones’ position is subject to performance at Japan 2019.

Here, Press Association Sport examines the rivals and their records in the Six Nations.

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Joe Schmidt

Experience: Schmidt’s coaching career began modestly as an assistant in New Zealand provincial rugby, but at Clermont his reputation soared as Vern Cotter’s right-hand man and when appointed Leinster boss he delivered consecutive European titles. Greater success has followed with Ireland.

Tactics: Very structured and not to everyone’s taste but highly effective – just ask the All Blacks. Every player knows their role as part of a micro-managed gameplan and is drilled to make it happen.

Style: A dignified statesman-like figure in public, Schmidt is a ruthless task masker behind the scenes who demands obedience from his players and oversees an environment where mistakes are not tolerated.

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Ireland’s Joe Schmidt is one of the game’s great coaches (Niall Carson/PA)

System: Ireland’s structure is the envy of every nation other than New Zealand, giving Schmidt control of the players at his disposal when they are on provincial duty. His stars can be rested when needed and he is able to dictate what position they play.

Six Nations results: Recognised as one of the greatest coaches to have worked in the Championship, Schmidt has presided over a golden era in Irish rugby history. Never finishing below third and masterminding three crowns, only Warren Gatland could claim to have a better Six Nations record.

Eddie Jones

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Eddie Jones (Adam Davy/PA)

Background: Jones’ coaching CV spans 24 years, straddling the amateur and professional eras and including spells in Japan, England, Australia and South Africa. As Wallabies boss, he masterminded a Tri-Nations title and a series win against the 2001 British an Irish Lions. Upon replacing Stuart Lancaster at the end of 2015, he delivered immediate success for England.

Tactics: More flexible in his approach than Schmidt, but then fate has often forced his hand due to the repeated injuries sustained by his most potent carriers such as Billy Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi. Plays to traditional English strengths of forward might and defensive and set-piece expertise and while happy to rely on the vision of Owen Farrell and George Ford, he is likely to opt for a power game if the options are available.

Style: A shrewd man-manager whose ability to inspire players was evident when he elevated England’s 2015 World Cup flops into Grand Slam champions in only six months. Confrontational, ruthless, unpredictable and willing to unsettle opponents through mind games.

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Eddie Jones’ (left) coaching CV spans 24 years (John Walton/PA)

System: Can only marvel at the control Schmidt is given over his players. France aside, Jones works in the landscape least conducive to international success. Given more time to work with his squad than his England predecessors and has the largest pool to select from, but it is the clubs who control the players and pay their salaries, so inevitably they dictate their schedules.

Results: A Grand Slam in his first year and the title in his second, Jones made a dreamy start to life in the Championship that unravelled in 2018 when three successive defeats resulted in a fifth place finish – the nation’s worst performance for over 30 years.

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