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Jones goes fishing for England


'Sometimes the team doesn't allow you put the batter on the fish... you have got to play a different way, got to grill the fish'

Eddie Jones has spoken to RugbyPass about the match intensity of England’s World Cup warm-up matches, insisting their meeting last Saturday with Wales in Cardiff was a proper Test match and not a friendly runaround.

“If you look at the last game, that was like a proper Test match – more than a proper test match. It goes to show where the World Cup is going to be at. They are going to be tight contestable games,” said Jones after announcing an England XV to face Ireland on Saturday that shows 11 changes from last weekend.  

“There might be one decision in the game that dictates the result, so the ability to do those small things well, the ability to be accurate and precise and aggressive in repeat situations, is going to be important.”

From the beginning of Jones’ tenure, the Australian made his ambition clear that his England team should play traditionally English rugby, “fish and chips rugby” that comes from strength in the set-piece, at scrum and lineout. 

Does the head coach feel his side are achieving with less than a month to go before the start of the World Cup in Japan? “It varies. Sometimes the team doesn’t allow you to put the batter on the fish. You have got to play a different way, you’ve got to grill the fish, you’ve got to find a different way of doing it. 

“That’s all part of the challenge going forward, being adaptable, recognising what’s happening in the game and where we can take it, what is the referee allowing and what we need to do. We are taking the right steps forward.”

George Ford at fly-half with Owen Farrell at inside centre is a combination that last started for England in the June 2018 Test against South Africa in Bloemfontein. What does their selection as a 10/12 combination to face Ireland mean for Saturday?

“We want to see a passing game. We have been playing quite a tight game against Wales. As you saw last week, in a game of 80 minutes between two top teams, there were zero line breaks. So we feel like this game, we probably need to pass a bit more. With George at 10 and Owen at 12 we can look to do that.”

Another area of strength for England is in their back row where alongside Billy Vunipola, Jones has selected two breakdown specialists in Sam Underhill & Tom Curry.

“We feel, particularly with the way the game is going, it’s a tight, contestable game. Again, we saw in our last game how much contest there was at the breakdown and how much the referees are allowing at the breakdown. Playing two guys who are pretty good in that area might give us an advantage.”

With news breaking this week of Ben Te’o joining Toulon as a medical joker, thereby ruling out any recall by England, Jones was limited in his remarks on the midfielder he left out of his World Cup Squad.

“Everyone makes a choice. Ben’s made his choice and we wish him all the best. We got some word of what was about to happen.”

WATCH: Jonny May and George Ford set the scene ahead of England’s World Cup warm-up match against Ireland

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'Sometimes the team doesn't allow you put the batter on the fish... you have got to play a different way, got to grill the fish'
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