'Enjoy the play-off' - England's Jones hits back at Gatland jibe

Tokyo (AFP) –


Eddie Jones has responded in typically sharp fashion after Wales coach Warren Gatland questioned whether England had played their World Cup final a week early with a stunning victory over champions New Zealand.

Gatland was speaking after Wales had been edged out 19-16 in the second semi-final by South Africa, who will now face England in Yokohama on Saturday in a repeat of the 2007 final.

The Welsh play the All Blacks in the bronze final 24 hours earlier, with Gatland's last match after 12 years in charge coming against his native New Zealand.

"Well, guys, can you just send my best wishes to Warren to make sure he enjoys the third and fourth place play-off," England coach Jones told reporters when Gatland's comments were put to him on Monday.

Meanwhile Jones, Australia's coach when England beat the Wallabies in the 2003 World Cup final, delivered a boost to Red Rose hopes of a second global crown by declaring that in-form wing Jonny May had recovered well from the dead leg he suffered in a sensational 19-7 semi-final win over New Zealand.

The Leicester flyer had been a doubt coming into the All Blacks match because of a hamstring injury and played 45 minutes before leaving the field with a fresh fitness problem.

But a smiling Jones insisted Monday: "We had a walk through this morning and we had to tell Jonny to slow down a bit."