England boss Jones accepts he's 'no reservoir of wisdom'


Bagshot (United Kingdom) (AFP)

Eddie Jones admitted he is "not the reservoir of wisdom" as he contemplated his most testing period yet as England coach heading into Saturday's Six Nations finale against an Ireland side chasing a Grand Slam.

England will kick-off at Twickenham following back-to-back defeats by Scotland and France, the first time they have lost successive internationals during their Australian boss's 27 Tests in charge

As if that was not enough, Jones has had to "sincerely" apologise after a video emerged Wednesday in which he referred to Ireland as "scummy" and described Wales as a "shit place" during a speech given to corporate sponsors last year.

For reasons of history and tradition, sports teams have rarely lacked a desire to beat England, despite anything their opponents might say.

Jones' remarks were arguably far less incendiary than when the then England cricket captain Tony Greig, a native white South African brought up under apartheid, told the 1976 West Indies tourists he wanted to make them "grovel".

West Indies, a team of mainly black players, won the ensuing Test series 3-0.

They were by far the better team and that, rather than late all-rounder Greig's poorly-worded suggestion the West Indies cracked under pressure, was the key factor.

Certainly lifelong cricket fan Jones disclaimed suggestions he had done Ireland's team talk for them.

"Ireland are preparing for a Grand Slam, they don't need any extra motivation," said Jones at England's Bagshot training base on Thursday.

Indeed his video comments were perhaps less offensive than when, during the build-up to the corresponding fixture two years ago, he suggested Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton's parents should worry about his health.

Sexton was stood down for 12 weeks in 2014 after four concussions inside 12 months.

- 'Consult' -

Jones tried to repair any damage from his latest outspoken remarks by saying: "I've apologised for it and I can't do anything about that now."

Of more immediate concern to Jones is that another defeat on Saturday could see England, the champions for the past two Six Nations, finish as low as fifth.

"Without a doubt this is my testing time here," he said. "I always consult people because I am not the reservoir of wisdom."

Jones had made seven personnel changes and three positional switches to the team beaten 22-16 by France in Paris last weekend in the most radical shake-up of his England reign.

But he insisted he relished a tough situation, with Jones recalling a difficult start with the Brumbies, the Wallabies' 50-point defeat by New Zealand in 2003 and South Africa losing three Tri-Nations games when he was a member of Jake White's backroom staff in 2007.

The Brumbies went on to be Super Rugby champions before an Australia side coached by Jones reached the 2003 World Cup final, with the Springboks going one better by winning the 2007 edition.

"I love it. This is what we get paid for as coaches," Jones said. "It's the best time in rugby, when you are under the pump and you have got to produce it. And the team feels the same way."