Eddie Jones recently compared Ireland to Stoke City.
Although this weekend’s game against Ireland only represents Eddie Jones’ third game in charge of England, we have already become accustomed to the psychological ploys used in his pre match press conferences.
So far we have heard the Australian born coach label Scotland as favourites before England’s opening Six Nations fixture in Murrayfield, and call on England to give Italy ‘a good hiding’.
This trend continued over the last week or so, with Jones comparing Ireland to Stoke City. The England coach first claimed that Joe Schmidt’s side kicked the ball 60% of the time, then revised his estimate up to 70%.
Given that England struggled under the high ball last season in Dublin, it is easy to understand why Jones would want to highlight Ireland’s aerial threat in a game of bluff with Joe Schmidt.
However in an interview on Sky Sports’ Rugby Union Podcast, Alan Quinlan has hit out at Jones’ assertion, demanding that the England coach ‘get his facts right’.
The former Irish flanker was quick to point out that Ireland kicked 24% of their possession against France, and 23% during their draw with Wales. Indeed Quinlan went further, stating that England kicked 36% of possession in both their games.
He also argued, of Ireland’s 21 kicks out of hand against Wales, outside of one or two stray attempts, ‘they were accurate and sensible’. Likewise, writing in The Telegraph, Daniel Schofield pointed out that England have kicked 77 times in possession, the second highest total recorded so far in the Championship.
In any event, Quinlan believes that Ireland will have to hold onto the ball if they are to beat England, and try to emulate the game plan that brought Wales success in Twickenham during the World Cup.
Not only are Jones’ stats wrong, but he clearly has not watched Stoke City play recently.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena