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Eddie Jones hasn't taken long to aim remarks at France

By Ian Cameron
Head coach of England Eddie Jones looks on head coach of France Fabien Galthie (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

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England head coach Eddie Jones hasn’t taken long to start the mindgames with France and is already attempting to heap the pressure on Fabien Galthie’s side ahead of Le Crunch in Paris.

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His side have an unlikely bounce in their step despite a record loss to Ireland in Twickenham. England – who spent nearly the entire match with 14 players – put in a defiant performance against the Irish, even if they were eventually overrun by Andy Farrell’s men.

If England lose to France in Saint-Denis, they could potentially finish fifth in the table again, a placing Jones’ admits would be unacceptable and which triggered an RFU review into his performance in 2021.

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The outspoken Australian has now turned his attention to Les Bleus, turning up the pressure notch by claiming the Grand Slam will ‘be in their heads’ this weekend.

“Wales lost the kicking in the first 20 and to beat France you have to out-kick them. That’s the first thing.

“Then you have to out-fight them around the ruck, which Wales did.”

“Wales are a really hard, tough team and we have to replicate them at the ruck and keep [scrumhalf] Antoine Dupont quiet,” said Jones. “For them to be playing for the Grand Slam, I remember going there in 2016 going for the Grand Slam and because it’s such a huge thing in European rugby, it does become something in their head,” the Australian said.

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“And the only way we can make that live in their head a bit more is to play with such intensity and such ferociousness that we put them on the back foot. I think we’ve seen it in a few games.

“Look, France are a good team, don’t get me wrong. But like any team – even the great All Black teams winning at 90 percent, on your day if you can get stuck into them physically, take away their strengths, you can cause them problems.”

Jones claims that his England side dominated both Scotland and Ireland, despite the loss on the scoreboard.

“I think we’ve taken massive steps forward in this Six Nations. We dominated the game against Scotland but got beaten,” he said of a narrow 20-17 defeat at Murrayfield.

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“We’ve dominated this game with 14 men, at times, and got beaten. And then we’ve had two good wins against Wales and Italy and we’ll have a good win against France.”

“Obviously our aim was to win the Championship. We’re disappointed we haven’t won the Championship but sometimes circumstances mean that maybe the results don’t mimic the performance. But that certainly catches up — the results will catch up.”

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