Duran Duran’s Hungry Like The Wolf had barely finished bellowing out around Twickenham following England’s 12-6 Six Nations victory on Saturday when head coach Eddie Jones had one final snarl at Wales counterpart Warren Gatland.
“I don’t coach Wales, you’ll have to ask Warren. He can pick my side, I can’t pick his,” said Jones when asked if he felt Wales could beat Ireland in Dublin during the next round of fixtures. The Australian was making reference to Gatland predicting pre-match, correctly as it turned out, that Jonathan Joseph would replace Ben Te’o at outside centre.
Jones cut a combustible figure in the aftermath of England’s win, secured courtesy of a pair of first-half tries from Leicester wing Jonny May, which stretched their unbeaten run at home to 15 matches.
An uninformed observer might have guessed that Wales had upset the applecart and replicated their 2015 World Cup success at England’s headquarters such was Jones’s spikiness. He did, however, profess satisfaction.
“I am really pleased. They are a tough side, a well coached team, they gave it everything and we had to battle to beat them,” said Jones, whose side currently sit second in the Six Nations table, level on points with leaders Ireland.
“After two games we are exactly where we want to be; two [victories] from two, one with a bonus point and the other an arm wrestle that we managed to win. We’ve had the experience of a loose game and a tight game, which sets us up for the next game we play.”
That clash is against Scotland, who defeated France 32-26 yesterday, at Murrayfield on 24 February. Jones’s outline as to how the next two weeks would pan out in terms of preparation was as blunt as ever: “Beat Scotland” was his opening gambit.
Part of the build-up to this year’s Calcutta Cup will see England’s forwards go head-to-head with Georgia’s this week in full throttle scrummaging and lineout practice.
“We want to have the best scrum in the world and they are the biggest, ugliest and strongest pack in the world so why wouldn’t we want to scrummage against them? It’s fantastic,” added Jones.
“It suits us perfectly and we’ll use the fallow week. We want to win the Six Nations but we’re also using this to trial for the World Cup, so it’s great opportunity for us to get some quality scrum practice.”
Jones has confirmed that Wasps No8 Nathan Hughes, who damaged knee ligaments in December, could be in contention to face Scotland. Fellow No8 Sam Simmonds was replaced by Sam Underhill at half-time against Wales with a shoulder problem.