EDDIE JONES has lit the fuse ahead of England’s clash with Ireland by claiming Andy Farrell’s side will struggle to be dominant at Twickenham.
The Australian was keen to repeat the word Farrell used to describe Ireland’s crushing 32-9 win over Wales in their opening Autumn Nations Cup game as he stepped up the mind games ahead of tomorrow’s Group A showdown.
‘Ireland were very happy with their dominant performance against Wales and we know they are a very well-coached team,’ Jones (pictured) said.
‘As their coaching staff said, they were dominant, so the challenge is can they bring a dominant Irish performance to Twickenham?’
Jones sacked Farrell — father of England captain Owen — as defence coach after replacing Stuart Lancaster in the wake of England’s miserable 2015 World Cup. However, he tried to rehire him three years later after Ireland’s strong defence, coached by Farrell, was a key part of their Grand Slam success. ‘I know Andy very well, they will be well prepared,’ said Jones. ‘It’s the most important game of the year for us and I’m sure they are treating it exactly the same way.’
England’s head coach described the match as a ‘huge step up’ from the win in Italy that clinched the Six Nations title and last week’s 40-0 victory over Georgia in their first Nations Cup match.
‘Ireland v England matches are always big,’ Jones added. ‘It’s a traditional rival game and it’s a game we both want to win dearly. Eighteen months ago Ireland were ranked No.1 in the world so it shows you their class and ability.’
TO PLAY IRELAND
E Daly; J Joseph, O Lawrence, H Slade, J May; O Farrell (capt), B Youngs; M Vunipola, J George, K Sinckler, M Itoje, J Launchbury, T Curry, S Underhill, B Vunipola.
Replacements: T Dunn, E Genge, W Stuart, J Hill, B Earl, D Robson, G Ford, M Malins.
Japan heroes Curry favour with coach
ENGLAND coach Eddie Jones paid Ireland the ultimate compliment by insisting he ‘picked the strongest possible team’ for tomorrow’s game.
The World Cup loose trio of Tom Curry, Sam Underhill and Billy Vunipola are reunited for only the second time since Japan as Jones turns to his most imposing pack.
‘Ireland are the strongest poaching team in the world so we need an aggressive, low-to-the- ground back row,’ said Jones. ‘Sam Underhill and Tom Curry are outstanding in that area.’
Ollie Lawrence is given another chance to show his ball-carrying skills at outside centre in an unchanged backline, with the fit-again George Ford only making the bench.