Tuesday 20 March 2018

'I'm not an entertainer' - England boss Eddie Jones insists roof at Principality Stadium stays open for clash with Wales

The roof will be open
The roof will be open

Mick Cleary

Eddie Jones has struck the first blow in the battle to take the honours in the much-anticipated Wales-England clash in Cardiff on Saturday by insisting that the Principality Stadium roof remains open. Many feel that an enclosed stadium enhances the atmosphere in the ground. Jones gave short shrift to that theory. “I’m not an entertainer,” said Jones. “I’m a coach.”

Wales had requested that the roof be closed for every home match during the Six Nations Championship but the protocol is such that there has to be agreement between the two unions. Jones had indicated throughout the week that he was not fussed either way, even stressing on Thursday lunchtime that he had not even thought about the matter and would only do so at the appropriate time. That make-your-mind-up moment came only a few hours later with Jones having to fall into line with due process that stipulates any preference has to be declared 48 hours before kick-off (4.50pm Saturday).

Jones took it to the wire, declaring he wanted it open just six minutes before the cut-off point, although the Welsh management probably expected the England coach to take the line that he did, they would be well aware of the brinkmanship involved.

Even though England have a pretty good record at the Principality Stadium with five wins in 10 visits, their return with the roof closed drops to four lost and one won. Jones insists that the matter has not been in his thoughts at all during the week as he looked to work out ways to pick up his side’s performance following their lacklustre 19-16 win over France last weekend, a victory that took them to an English record of 15 successive wins. Even so, Jones was not happy with his own coaching in the build-up nor in several aspects of England’s play.

“I have a list of priorities at the start of the week and I’ll make a decision on the roof only when it is appropriate,” said Jones who has made two changes to his starting line-up with Jack Clifford replacing Tom Wood on the openside flank and Jack Nowell trading places with Jonny May. 

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