ENGLAND coach Eddie Jones has compared Ireland’s style of rugby to his native sport of Aussie Rules.
Ireland travel to Twickenham on February 27 knowing they must win to stand any chance of becoming the first team to win the Six Nations three years in a row.
However, the up-and-under style of play that has brought Ireland so much success under head coach Joe Schmidt has been criticised by many rugby critics, many of whom believe it can no longer win trophies.
Jones appears to be in that camp, making an apparent dig at Ireland’s beatable style of play, which he has compared to Aussie Rules, in which the kicking style thrives.
“We’ve got to win the Aussie Rules contest,” joked Jones. “That is the first thing we have got to do. They kick 60 per cent of their possession. If we can win that Aussie Rules battle, we will go a long way to winning the game.”
However, Jones stopped short of directly criticising Ireland, accepting that their style has gained back-to-back Six Nations titles.
“Ireland are a clever side,” he added. “They’re one of the best-coached sides in world rugby, full stop. They’re very resourceful. They’ve chosen to go in this direction in terms of their style of play and they’ve won the last two Six Nations titles doing it. Who am I to criticise them?”
Ireland remain without a win in the 2016 event, drawing with Wales in their opener at the Aviva Stadium before losing to France last time out in Paris.