Eddie Jones is expecting the United States to provide a tough challenge for his England side in their World Cup meeting in Kobe on Thursday.
He illustrated that point uniquely, though, saying that the USA will play like “15 Donald Trumps” when the two teams clash at NOEVIR Stadium.
It will be the first time the tier two minnows have played at this tournament in Japan, but Jones guarded against complacency in bizarre fashion.
“It’s going to be like 15 Donald Trumps out there, so we’ll have to be on our job, because we know they’re going to give it everything they’ve got, just like Tonga did. That’s great for us because we’ll have to be at our best,” he said.
Asked to expand on his comparison to the American president, Jones said: “Brash, aggressive, want to take on the world – that’s what we think the USA will do.”
USA Eagles head coach Gary Gold didn’t react to Jones’ comments, citing that his team – the world’s 13th-ranked side who have won just three of their 25 World Cup matches since 1987 – didn’t have the right to engage in a war of words with one of rugby’s powerhouse nations.
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“At this stage, with all due respect, we’re not a good enough rugby team to be making comments or answers to questions like that,” Gold, a South African, said of Jones’ comments.
“I don’t know what it means.”
It isn’t the first time at this World Cup that Jones has sparked intrigue with his unconventional way of portraying his thoughts and opinions.
Australian-born Jones, who coached Japan at the last World Cup and has Japanese heritage through his mother, said he used the reference because of Underhill’s and Curry’s tenacious defensive abilities.
The term ‘kamikaze’ is sensitive in Japan due to its reference to airplane pilots who flew suicide missions during World War II.
Despite the enthusiasm conveyed in Jones’ words early in the tournament, his England side didn’t replicate that in their first outing of the World Cup, earning a patchy 35-3 victory over Tonga in Sapporo on Sunday.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 24, 2019
Subsequently, 10 changes have been made to the starting lineup for their clash against the Eagles in what will be their second match in just four days.
One player who has managed to retain his place in the team is barnstorming No. 8 Billy Vunipola.
Concerns have been raised about the durability of the 26-year-old given that he has played 761 of England’s last 800 minutes, but after a physical display against Tonga three days ago, Jones has no qualms about his fitness.
“That’s a massive occasion for him, to play against his own countrymen,” Jones said of Vunipola’s effort against Tonga.
“They were gunning for him, they were looking for him.
“I really enjoyed the way he played that game. At the end of the game when we needed somebody to take the ball forward he called himself, and that’s the sort of player he is. That’s why we love him.”
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