Saturday 17 March 2018

Jones urges England to have last laugh with clean sweep

England head coach Eddie Jones. Picture Sportsfile
England head coach Eddie Jones. Picture Sportsfile

Duncan Bech

Eddie Jones has urged his England players to have the last laugh on Australia by completing a series whitewash today.

England's arrival Down Under was greeted by a sneering promotional video televised by the host broadcaster in which a group of pundits - all former Wallabies - mocked their chances of winning.

Jones, who is seeking a ninth successive victory since taking over, also faced a vulgar and inappropriate question during the post-match press conference in Brisbane and has been the victim of regular sniping from the Australian media.

The 56-year-old, who was sacked by the Wallabies in 2005, is using the jibes to power his tourists over the finishing line in Sydney.

"I sense a real intensity about the players in wanting to do the job well," Jones said. "You've got to remember that when we came to Australia, they tried to humiliate us - the trailer by the host broadcaster and various sorts of things.

"They said it was a joke that we even considered winning the series. All the smart guys in the papers were saying 3-0. Now they're not so smart."

England's success on the pitch has been mirrored by Jones' deft handling of the phoney war, to the point that New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen claimed earlier this week he had bullied Wallabies counterpart Michael Cheika through his mind games.

Cheika finally fired his first shot on Thursday, describing the No 2 ranked team in the world as "dull" and hoping that they would play with greater ambition now the series has been decided.

Meanwhile, out-of-favour England out-half Danny Cipriani has been convicted of drink-driving after getting behind the wheel having spent the night drinking cocktails and champagne. The 28-year-old was so drunk his eyes were "glazed", he slurred his words and could not stand straight after he crashed his Mercedes into a taxi in London at 5.15am on June 1 last year.

The Wasps player, then with Sale Sharks, was breathalysed after the crash, and found to have 67 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath - twice the drink-drive limit.

Cipriani, who earns £3,200 a week, was ordered to pay a total of £7,620 in fines and costs. He was also banned from driving for 18 months.

Cipriani claimed he was "shocked" that the breathalyser was positive, despite admitting he had drunk two espresso martinis and a glass of champagne less than an hour earlier.

His case has been long and protracted. His lawyer, Philip Lucas, tried unsuccessfully to get it dismissed, arguing there was not "sufficient" evidence that the test in the police station was working properly.

Irish Independent

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