Wednesday 22 November 2017

Jones turns up the heat on his own players

Six Nations Touch Lines

England coach Eddie Jones. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA.
England coach Eddie Jones. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA. Newsdesk Newsdesk

He may only be three months into his role as England coach but there is never a dull day when Eddie Jones speaks.

The Australian began the mind games with his 'Aussie Rules' jibe, following that up with false stats about how often Ireland kick possession.

Yesterday, he turned the focus on his own players by demanding that their fitness improve.

"They're not right for international rugby, that's the distinction," Jones bemoaned.

"They're right for club rugby. They can play club rugby 365 days of the year but international rugby is faster, there's more accelerations, the running speed is higher and you need to have a different sort of training for international rugby."

In an age of banal cliches, Jones' approach is welcome.

Gatland reverts to tried and trusted

Wales have made three changes to their starting XV to play France on Friday as Dan Lydiate, Bradley Davies and Alex Cuthbert are all recalled.

Warren Gatland has opted to reshuffle his back-row, with the inclusion of Dan Lydiate ahead of the hugely talented Justin Tipuric seemingly offering more balance.

Luke Charteris (knee) misses out, with Davies coming into the second-row, while Cuthbert has been selected ahead of Tom James.

Jonathan Davies provided a fitness boost to Gatland, who is looking to build on the win over Scotland.

"We are looking to continue our unbeaten run and will be looking for another step up."

Wales (v France) - L Williams; A Cuthbert, J Davies, J Roberts, G North; D Biggar, G Davies; R Evans, S Baldwin, S Lee; B Davies, AW Jones; D Lydiate, S Warburton (capt), T Faletau. Reps: K Owens, G Jenkins, T Francis, J Ball, J Tipuric, L Williams, R Priestland, G Anscombe.

Cardiff's roof to remain closed for French visit

In the aftermath of Wales' draw with Ireland, Warren Gatland began the calls to have to the roof of the Millennium Stadium closed for the visit of Scotland.

Gatland got his wish then and on Friday the roof will remain closed. Perfect conditions for 'Warrenball' then.

Quote of the day

"My job is to make the players into first-class Test players, not to be media stars."

Eddie Jones in full protection mode of his younger English players when it comes to speaking in public.

Number of the day

1 Of the 18 scrums that England have contested in their opening two games, they have lost just one (against Scotland).

Compiled by Cian Tracey

Irish Independent

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