Jones not happy with 'ridiculous' comments

International
AFP
by AFP

Eddie Jones has insisted it is "absolutely ridiculous" to suggest England rugby players and their fans are "arrogant" as he responded to a familiar attack by Scotland great Jim Telfer. 

This week saw Telfer unflatteringly compare England coach Jones to "big man" Donald Trump. 

What really irked Jones, however, was Telfer's depiction of crowds at England's Twickenham headquarters as being packed full of "superior" fans.

"Jim's quite entitled not to like me, that's his prerogative," Jones said after naming his side to play France in Grand Slam champions England's opening match of the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.

"But to say the fans at Twickenham are arrogant is absolutely ridiculous. 

"I've coached all around the world and I think the fans at Twickenham are passionate, loyal, reasonably well-educated and provide a great atmosphere. - Eddie Jones

"It's one of the greatest rugby grounds in the world. If he (Telfer) doesn't like that don't come, simple as that," added Australian coach Jones, who has made no secret of wanting to win the 2019 World Cup with England.

Telfer's mood may not have been helped by England being on a 14-match winning streak -- 13 of those victories coming since Jones took charge following the team's first-round exit on home soil at the 2015 World Cup.

England's imperial history, large playing base and the wealth of its Rugby Football Union has often made them an object of envy from their rivals.

Yet far from being "arrogant", Jones believes his side are "reserved". 

He has detected the same trait in the England football team and believes it may have contributed to their shock defeat by outsiders Iceland that saw them knocked out of last year's European Championships.

"If I was to generalise as an Australian talking about the English -- which is probably not a good thing to do, but I'll do it anyway -- I find the English to be very reserved. The last thing I find them to be is arrogant. I find them to be very polite, reserved people and I find that with the players.

"To me, that is the problem. Maybe football is the same -- the players are too reserved.

"The manager comes in and says, 'You do this, we will play this formation' and it's not right for the players but the players accept it because he is the manager.

"Then against Iceland, with 20 minutes to go it's not working and they've got nothing to fall back on."

Eddie Jones wants his team's preparation to be perfect. Photo: Getty ImagesWhether coaches and players 'get on' is immaterial said Jones, citing the example of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick, who on Sunday will be in their seventh Super Bowl final together, against the Atlanta Falcons in Houston.

"We looked at a fantastic article in the Washington Post about the relationship between Belichick and Brady, and it's all about business," explained Jones.

"They've been together umpteen seasons...They're not friendly at all, but they know what they've got to do."

He added: "That is the attitude we want in this team. It's nice if people like you but for us, our business is to win games of rugby."

Meanwhile Jones said it was no handicap to be an overseas coach.

"I don't try to pretend to be English to the players," he said. "I'm their coach. I coach them to play rugby."

TEAMS

Six Nations teams for round one

England vs France

Elliot Daly has been suspended for three weeks. Photo: Getty imagesEngland (15-1): Mike Brown, Jonny May, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Nathan Hughes, Tom Wood, Maro Itoje; Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury; Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley (capt), Joe Marler.  Reserves:  Jamie George, Matt Mullan, Kyle Sinckler, Teimana Harrison, James Haskell, Danny Care, Ben Te'o, Jack Nowell

France (15-1): Scott Spedding; Noa Nakaitaci, Gael Fickou, Remi Lamerat, Virimi Vakatawa; Camille Lopez, Baptiste Serin; Kevin Gourdon, Louis Picamoles, Damien Chouly; Yoann Maestri, Sebastien Vahaamahina; Uini Atonio, Guilhem Guirado (capt), Cyril Baille. Reserves: Clement Maynadier, Rabah Slimani, Xavier Chiocci, Arthur Iturria, Loann Goujon, Maxime Machenaud, Jean-Marc Doussain, Yoann Huget

Wales vs Italy

Sam Warburton has been ruled out of this weekend's Test. Photo: Getty ImagesWales (15-1): Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Liam Williams; Dan Biggar,Rhys Webb; Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Jake Ball; Samson Lee, Ken Owens, Nicky Smith. Reserves: Scott Baldwin, Rob Evans, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, James King, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Jamie Roberts

Italy (15-1): Edoardo Padovani, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Benvenuti, Luke McLean, Giovanbattista Venditti, Carlo Canna, Edoardo Gori, Sergio Parise, Maxime Mbanda, Braam Steyn, George Biagi, Marco Fuser, Lorenzo Cittadini, Ornel Gega, Andrea Lovotti. Reserves: Leonardo Ghiraldini, Sami Panico, Pietro Ceccarelli, Josh Furno, Francesco Minto, Giorgio Bronzini, Tommaso Allan, Michele Campagnaro 

Scotland vs Ireland

Fraser Brown has been given the nod for the Six Nations opener. Photo: Getty ImagesScotland (15-1): Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Tommy Seymour; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt); Josh Strauss, Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson; Jonny Gray, Richie Gray; Zander Fagerson, Fraser Brown, Allan Dell.  Reserves: Ross Ford, Gordon Reid, Simon Berghan, Tim Swinson, John Barclay, Ali Price Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett

Ireland (15-1): Rob Kearney; Keith Earls Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo; Paddy Jackson, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip, Sean O'Brien, CJ Stander; Devin Toner, Iain Henderson; Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best (capt), Jack McGrath. Replacements: Niall Scannell, Cian Healy, John Ryan, Ultan Dillane, Josh van der Flier, Kieran Marmion, Ian Keatley, Tommy Bowe

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