England headcoach Eddie Jones has taken a fresh dig at Jonny Sexton two weeks out from the opening round of the Six Nations.
England face Ireland in Dublin on February 2nd, and Jones was keen to point out what he perceives as the problematic nature of Sexton’s relationship with referees.
“Sexton has the bat phone to the referee. When he talks, the referee listens,” Jones told the BBC.
“That is because of his status in the game – you earn that, like Richie McCaw did.”
“If he was Sexton then we’d be able to complain about him,” said Jones. “But because he’s Owen Farrell he’s allowed to be hit late. He’s tough so he gets up and he plays.”
Meanwhile Jones is “cautiously optimistic” Farrell will be fit for the Six Nations opener against Ireland, despite needing surgery to fix a thumb injury.
Farrell – who this week was named England’s captain with Dylan Hartley ruled out for the start of the tournament with a knee issue – sat out Saracens’ European Champions Cup fixture with Glasgow Warriors on Saturday.
Director of rugby Mark McCall confirmed to BT Sports that the fly-half required “a simple procedure” at the base of his thumb and his recovery could take up to 10 days.
While the timeframe is tight with the Ireland game on February 2, Jones is upbeat over the influential 27-year-old’s chances of featuring at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
“I came from Saracens, they had a good win. We’re cautiously optimistic, he should be alright,” he told Sky Sports News.
Jones and his players head for Portugal on Wednesday for a training camp before the Australian names his 25-man party to face Ireland on January 31.
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