Jones says England 'owe Wales one' in Six Nations

Bagshot (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Eddie Jones said England "owed Wales one" after their painful defeat in Cardiff last year as they prepare for a home match they realistically must win to maintain their Six Nations title bid.

France are the only team left in this season's edition who can complete a Grand Slam but England could yet be crowned champions if Les Bleus stumble in the final two rounds.

England, who started the 2019 Six Nations with convincing wins over Ireland and France, were 10-3 ahead at half-time at the Principality Stadium last year only to lose 21-13.

Wales went on to be crowned champions with a Grand Slam.

But under new coach Wayne Pivac, who succeeded fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland after the World Cup, they will arrive at Twickenham on the back of defeats by Ireland and France.

"You've got to remember they beat us last year so we owe them one," said Jones after naming his team to play Wales on Thursday.

"They've lost two games in a row. They've got a new coach and they'll want to make a statement on Saturday.

"Traditionally our games are very close so they'll come with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy."

- Watson, Wilson in -

Jones has made two changes to the side that beat Ireland 24-12 last time out, recalling wing Anthony Watson and back-row Mark Wilson for their first international appearances since England's World Cup final defeat by South Africa in November.

Watson has recovered from a calf problem while Wilson, who has made only one start for Sale since knee surgery, replaces the injured Sam Underhill.

"Anthony trained really well. We haven't seen much of him but he's come back in and is fully fit and ready to go," Jones said.

"Mark's had a hard route. He was great for us during the World Cup. He's a terrific team man."

Jones was speaking at before it was announced that England's Six Nations finale against Italy in Rome on March 14 had been postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus.

England decided against having Mako Vunipola, who recently flew back from Tonga via Hong Kong, in their camp as a precaution against the coronavirus although the prop is set to play for Saracens this weekend.

But veteran Australian coach Jones, taking his cue from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, said medical matters were beyond his remit.

"I've just watched an interview with Jurgen Klopp and thought he summed it up pretty well -- we take medical advice and we'll follow that. We're not smart enough to make those decisions," he said.

"We believe we've made the right decision. Saracens think otherwise, then fair play. The advice was it was best not for him to come into camp so we took that advice."