Jones apologises for Ireland, Wales slurs

"Who knows Wales? It's this little s*** place that has got 3 million people - 3 million!"

Ireland kicked off having both deposed England as Six Nations champions and in second place in the global rankings behind world champions New Zealand.

Not only will the footage have caused acute embarrassment to the RFU, but it could also serve to motivate Ireland ahead of Saturday's St Patrick's Day showdown. It is a high stakes shoot-out.

He had said: "Wales".

"If we start to get distracted with a sideshow like that it takes us away from what is important to us", he said. [The off-field stuff] has not been a distraction.

"I'm thankful for the collaboration between the WRU and Ospreys which will look after my best interests and enables me to play the best rugby possible", Jones said in a WRU statement on Friday. Dylan Hartley is back to captain the side after recovering from a calf strain as one of seven personnel changes to the starting line-up. They are grumpy and we have all to suck this up.

"They [Ireland] are a good, tough team, well coached, very well disciplined". These games are all about [big] moments. Other sides attack that area, as France did.

"It would be massive for us [to finish second]". It's quite natural for a team to go through it's not good but its natural.

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Those charged with delivering on that instructing bear little resemblance to those sent out to see off a middling France team in Paris last weekend.

England are also without Ben Youngs due to a similar knee injury, although the Leicester Tigers scrum-half did not require surgery on his injured medial collateral ligament in his left knee and could return to action in April in time to regain his fitness for the South Africa tour.

The big problem for England, though, is not what Jones says, or what Ireland can achieve, but whether they turn up or not. It is a clear out created to generate a response. "Turns out you get what you give".

'You learn from losing. "That is what is being tested".

Since the Boys In Green picked up the Grand Slam trophy, #ScummyIrish has been trending on Twitter, with an array of rugby fans tearing Jones a new one with their comments.

He delivered the Grand Slam in 2016 and won back-to-back Six Nations in 2017. You have to get your peak arousal state flawless.

"We just felt we needed to make some changes for this game", Jones explained. We get different points of view, different eyes looking at it and that's the challenge for our players. "But their response has been good and they are ready". The players are human, though, not robots.

  • Sonia Alvarado