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Jones turns up at Man United training just days after rugby jibe

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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England boss Eddie Jones curiously turned up at Manchester United training on Thursday morning just days after their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer controversially made headlines for claiming that football was becoming more like rugby after a number of rough Southampton challenges went unpunished last Sunday. 

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Jones has been busy this month attending to business outside of his head coach role with England, the RFU confirming at the start of August that their Australian would be doing some rugby work in the coming weeks in Italy and Georgia while also visiting Gallagher Premiership clubs, including Leicester where his trips are now a monthly occurrence.

The RFU also mentioned that Jones has visited Manchester United to observe their pre-season training when they were based at Pennyhill Park and he has now taken in another session, travelling to Manchester to see Solskjaer and his players go through their paces at their Carrington base. 

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Jones is a football fan and he often mentions at his media sessions particular matches he has watched, but the timing of his latest visit to United training is ironic given how Solskjaer brought rugby in the post-match conversation last weekend after his team were unexpectedly held to an away draw on the English south coast.  

Sportsmail reported: “It’s believed that Jones arrived just after 8am and met up with United’s analysis operations manager Andrew Meredith, a fellow Australian, who won Olympic gold with Germany at hockey and previously worked with Australia’s national football side and St Pauli in the German Bundesliga.”

Jones had featured on the Manchester United website after his visit earlier this summer to United training at Pennyhill where he explains the value he takes from checking out other sports. “I’m always interested in how the training is organised, and what is the objective of the training, and then what are the coaches doing to make sure that objective is met,” he stated. 

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“So it’s more about the movement and the objective of the session. We are always learning. I think we learn more off you guys but they are both invasion sports, they are both about combinations. At any time on the field there are four or five players that are crucial to that piece of play, and the way they interact and then the ability of the rest of the team to anticipate what’s going to happen is just so important.”

When speaking to the RFU about his business elsewhere earlier this month, Jones said: “These visits to other clubs, countries and sports are a great chance for coaches to increase knowledge and share knowledge. It’s important we give back to the game, such as my work in supporting emerging nations like Georgia. Over the next two months, the focus will move to Premiership clubs, meeting with the directors of rugby and players and seeing how pre-season training is going.”

With regard to his England duties, Jones is currently in the process of revamping his backroom staff following a succession of departures. Head analyst Joe Lewis, who had been on board with England since 2017, became the latest to recently leave with Scarlets this week confirming he is their new head of technical performance.

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Jones turns up at Man United training just days after rugby jibe

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