Monday 16 September 2019

'The Welsh are a cunning lot, they have got goats, they have got daffodils' - Eddie Jones

England head coach Eddie Jones and captain Dylan Hartley
England head coach Eddie Jones and captain Dylan Hartley

Jack Austin

Eddie Jones has called Wales “a cunning lot” when asked if he had made a decision about whether England will want to roof open or closed for Saturday’s Six Nations clash in Cardiff.

Wales had requested the roof to be shut for both their home games during the championships but the Six Nations ruled both teams had to be in agreement over whether it was open or not – leaving the ball in England’s court.

Jones said he was “prepared for any shenanigans” the Welsh might pull, after the infamous tunnel incident two years ago, when Chris Robshaw refused to lead his team out first, knowing that it was a ploy to keep them waiting for Wales to emerge while out in the cold.

“I will make a decision on the roof later in the week,” Jones said.

“It will matter when I have to make the decision. I’m not an entertainer, I’m a coach. We will have a chat later this week.

“There’s always shadows in the corners that can come out. A team goes through life-changing experiences (2013 defeat to Wales) and you never want to go back there.

“You don’t like that feeling and you learn to control those emotions. We have prepared to win, for any shenanigans that might go on.

“It’s a great opportunity to play in one of the great experiences.

International Rugby Newsletter

Rugby insights and commentary from our renowned journalists like Neil Francis, Will Slattery, Alan Quinlan & Cian Tracey.

“The Welsh are a cunning lot, they have got goats, they have got daffodils, we are preparing for anything.”

England are playing a relatively inexperienced back row against Wales, with Maro Itoje, who started last week at blindside, and Jack Clifford, who replaces Tom Wood at openside, either side of Nathan Hughes.

The trio only have 20 caps between them, with the Welsh triumvirate of Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric and and Ross Moriarty boasting 130 a collective international appearances.

“We have a nice blend of experience and youth and we feel we have got the balance right,” said Jones.

“We think he (Clifford) is a really good player and he will give us a bit more pace in the back row. It's a great opportunity for him.

“Nathan Hughes has been playing well. Itoje is a young guy learning the ropes and there is no better way to learn the ropes than in matches like these.”

Independent News Service

The Throw-In: 'Jim Gavin has achieved what Mick O'Dwyer and Brian Cody couldn't do'

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Also in Sport