England’s defence coach John Mitchell has stoked things ahead of the eagerly anticipated Six Nations clash with defending champions Ireland.


The New Zealander told the BBC “Ireland are arguably the best in the world and, for me, are a side who – through their process being a well-coached side – are resilient and they will try to bore the shit out of us basically.”

“In many ways it will be [about] who wants to be more patient than the other.”

England have not won at the Aviva Stadium since 2013, when they won a hugely attritional game 12-6. In 2015 Ireland were 19-9 victors in Dublin, while in 2017 Joe Schmidt’s side ended England’s 18-man winning run with a 13-9 success.

Mitchell believes that Ireland are likely to employ their kicking game when the sides meet again.

“Conor Murray is one of the best exponents of the box-kick – his accuracy, his speed, his control – and it is a process they are very comfortable with,” Mitchell said.

“They are a huge momentum team who love to keep possession and that’s where that patience comes from, and that resilience to bore you.


“That will be the challenge, who out-wills each other in that particular area.”

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It’s not the only verbal jousting ahead of this match with England head coach Eddie Jones indicated that Johnny Sexton was given preferential treatment by referees.

“Sexton is a reasonably big player who has the bat phone to the referee. He is the only one allowed to pick up the red phone to talk to the referee. When he talks, the referee listens”, Jones said.


“That is because of his status in the game – you earn that, like [former New Zealand captain] Richie McCaw did.”

But speaking to RugbyPass at the Six Nations launch last week Jones defended those comments.

“I think he has a great influence over referees like good players do. I don’t find that to be a negative comment. I think the way that the media goes on about it is almost childish.”

Watch: Eddie Jones stands firm over Sexton comments

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