Under-fire England coach Eddie Jones called a club owner the “Donald Trump of rugby” Sunday as a storm over his training methods moved from London to Durban.
Bruce Craig, who owns English top-flight club Bath, criticised the Australian coach after Ben Te’o became the 15th training-camp injury victim since Jones took charge in 2015.
Five of the 15 casualties play for Bath, including Beno Obano, whose knee and hamstring injuries sidelined him for almost a year.
Jones reacted by saying: “Bruce is obviously an expert in training ground injuries so I will have to be subservient to his greater knowledge.”
The coach continued his verbal offensive against Craig after arriving in Durban to prepare for a three-Test series against South Africa, which begins Saturday.
“Bruce Craig sounds like the Donald Trump of rugby and has the same hairstyle,” Jones told a press conference in the Indian Ocean port city.
“Everything we do is about training to get better, it is not about satisfying some guy in Bath who has got plenty of money and thinks he knows everything about rugby.
“If I knew that much, I would probably have as much money as him. Unfortunately, I don’t, so I will just stick to rugby.”
Former South Africa assistant coach Jones hopes to lead England to a first series success in the republic.
He has a deep insight into South African rugby having been part of the staff under head coach Jake White that won the 2007 Rugby World Cup in Paris.
South Africa lost their opening match this season 22-20 to Wales in Washington Saturday, but could field an entirely different starting XV in Johannesburg this weekend.
Coach Johan ‘Rassie’ Erasmus kept 17 players in South Africa to train and they cover every position.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)