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Why an embarrassed Eddie Jones has admitted he is 'such a dodo'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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England boss Eddie Jones somehow managed to drop himself in the mire on Tuesday when British Olympic gold medal winner Jessica Ennis-Hill came to talk to his rugby squad during their week-long preparation camp in Brighton

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The English squad have been in the habit of inviting keynote speakers in to give them pep talks at various stages over the years, but things got off to an awkward start at the latest England gathering due to a slip of the tongue by head coach Eddie Jones. 

Jessica Ennis-Hill was a star of the 2012 Olympics in London, delivering the gold for Britain in the women’s heptathlon to widespread acclaim around the world, and her profile has remained high since then due to media work and various business and ambassadorial roles. 

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Rob Kearney and Alfie Barbeary – A Lions and a Wasp
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However, despite that eminence, coach Jones admitted he stuffed things up when the former Olympian athlete was being welcomed by the England squad for a talk ahead of the start of the upcoming Guinness Six Nations championship away to Scotland on February 5.

“She was an outstanding athlete,” enthused Jones before confessing his team room faux pas on what was an eventful Tuesday for England that ended in the evacuation of their hotel due to a fire outside. “It’s a great story the resilience that she showed, the expectation that she had to cope with. 

“Maro (Itoje) and George Furbank organised a Q&A at which I embarrassed myself at the start of it by calling her the wrong name. It was a bit embarrassing for the team that their head coach is such a dodo but we all make mistakes and we get on with it. She was really good, really good messages for the team, particularly for the young guys coming through who are all dealing with that expectation.

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“How she handled the social media, how she handled the training, how she handled the communication with the coaches – there were some really good points there for the players to absorb.”

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