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'Obviously I've never played union, it doesn't look that hard'

By Ian Cameron
Jake Connor /Getty

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Rugby league star Jake Connor has fired back at England head coach Eddie Jones, after the Australian rugby union maestro questioned his fitness levels this week.


Jones spent some time with Hull FC earlier this summer in an advisory role and was asked on Sky Sports this week if any Super League player had caught his eye and might make a good fit for a switch to union.

“Rugby league in some ways is similar to rugby union. We’re trying to get the ball up the other end of the field as quickly as possible. So it’s the little nuances of defence and attack, and you’re looking to pick up something new.

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“I spent a bit of time in Hull and I like the fullback up there, [Jake] Connor. He’s a tough skillful player and I’m sure if he got a bit fitter, he could make it,” Jones replied.

Back in the studio, Brian Carney, a rugby league great who enjoyed a brief stint in union with Munster and Ireland, joked that: “A rugby league player needing to get fitter to play rugby union. We’ve had a magician here, now we’ve got a comedian.”

The clip did the rounds on social media and Connor was asked about Jones’ comment at a press conference yesterday.


He fired back in kind.

“I don’t think he was wrong,” Connor told reporters.  “It’s always been a thing of mine, my fitness is something I’m always working on to get better at. So I don’t think he’s wrong in that department.”

Even if the 26-year-old’s salary might be in line for a significant increase, Connor suggested the sport was too dull for his tastes.

“But obviously I’ve never played union, it doesn’t look that hard. You never say never but it looks too boring for me.”


Jones clearly rates rugby league and their coaches. Earlier this month, Martin Gleeson was confirmed as England’s senior coaching set-up as attack coach. Gleeson played for Huddersfield Giants, St Helens, Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors, Hull FC and Salford City Reds – winning the Super League twice (2002 and 2010) and the Challenge Cup in 2004. He moved into coaching with Salford in 2014, before joining Wasps.



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