Warren Gatland may be gone from the Six Nations scene – he will be coaching the Chiefs in their opening Super Rugby match at the Blues in Auckland the day before Wales begin their latest Six Nations championship with a February 1 home tie versus Italy.
However, Eddie Jones couldn’t resist bringing up his old sparring partner at the Six Nations launch in London on Wednesday, making reference to Gatland to foist some early pressure on new Wales boss Wayne Pivac.
England-Wales fixtures since 2016 always used to have lively build-ups and post-mortems due to the unrestrained manners which Jones and Gatland traded verbal blows.
And although the latest meeting between the countries won’t happen until March 7 in round four at Twickenham, Jones has suggested his old foe is already casting a long shadow over his successor in Cardiff.
Asked how Wales might fare in the 2020 championship under their new coach, Jones replied: “Well, it’s a team full of expectation now, isn’t it? Warren has done a great job.
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The launch of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations in London
“They have got Gatland’s Gate now, so every time Wayne walks through he walks through something that pays homage to Warren and he feels that expectation of what the Welsh fans and the Welsh community want.
“But he’s had some great success with Scarlets. He has got a good background through his coaching in New Zealand, had a little bit of experience at international level with Fiji.
Four new captains ?
Four new coaches ?
Six Nations ?
…and lots of media ?
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 22, 2020
“He has got a certain style of play that he wants to play and it will be interesting to see whether he can impose that on the Welsh to play it at international level.”
Further asked what it would feel like for him to go through those Principality Stadium gates dedicated to his arch-rival when England visit in the 2021 championship, Jones said: “Ah, there will probably be a few empty pint glasses there, mate.”
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