Thursday 22 August 2019

WATCH: 'He's like the Donald Trump of rugby' - Luke Fitzgerald on Eddie Jones' Rhys Patchell jibe

Luke Fitzgerald (inset) and England head coach Eddie Jones
Luke Fitzgerald (inset) and England head coach Eddie Jones Newsdesk Newsdesk

Luke Fitzgerald has said that Eddie Jones' comments on Rhys Patchell in the build-up to England's narrow Six Nations victory over Wales at Twickenham were 'odd'

The England head coach questioned the 24-year-old's bottle in the lead-up to the clash.

"When Alun Wyn Jones and the guys go down for breakfast on Saturday, they'll be looking at him thinking, 'Can this kid handle the pressure?'," Jones had said last week.

"It's a big ask and we will see if he has the bottle to handle it. He is going to have Robshaw at him, Farrell at him, Care at him - all guys that have played a lot of Test rugby."

Jones' comments didn't go down well in Wales with many feeling they lacked class.

Patchell failed to emulate his impressive showing in the round one win over Scotland and was substituted by Warren Gatland with 25 minutes to go.

Speaking on The Left Wing Live in association with Aer Lingus, Fitzgerald said he believes the English defence had more to do with Patchell's subdued showing rather than Jones' barbs and compared the Australian to US President Donald Trump.

"It was always going to be very difficult for him (Patchell)," he said.

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"I thought he was under pressure but it was more to do with quality defence and they (Wales) ran it all the time which put a lot of pressure on him as well which I didn't think helped.

"I thought it was unusual. I'm glad I got the Eddie Jones question.

"It is odd. I think he has nearly become the Donald Trump of rugby at this stage.

"I kinda like it. Some of it I think is a little aggressive. Picking out the young kid Patchell, who has only just got into the team, perhaps it leaves a little bit of a bad taste.

"But look, you are trying to win the Test match in whatever way you can. He didn't say anything bad. He's a young kid. He was not going to get the same ride he did against Scotland the previous week

"As it turned out he probably was right."

Asked if verbal jibes from the opposition would be talked about inside a team camp, Sean O'Brien said: "No it's not. That's all outside your environment. People are going to say different things. You look after your own shop and everything else will work out."

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