England head coach Eddie Jones is sure to come in for more scrutiny when he faces the media in the wake of his derogatory remarks about Ireland and Wales coming to light.
Australian Jones apologised on Wednesday after footage emerged of him referring to Ireland as the “scummy Irish” and Wales as a “little s*** place”.
Jones was due to name his team to face NatWest 6 Nations champions Ireland at a media conference on Thursday morning at England’s training base at Pennyhill Park in Surrey.
The video shows Jones giving a talk on leadership for Fuso, the Japanese parent company of England sponsors Mitsubishi.
It was uploaded by Fuso to YouTube in July last year but has only come to light before Saturday’s final round of the 2018 Six Nations when England face Ireland at Twickenham.
Jones apologised for his comments on Wednesday evening and admitted his choice of words was inexcusable, saying he was “very sorry”. The Rugby Football Union said it would apologise to the Irish and Welsh unions.
In the talk, Jones told an audience: “We’ve played 23 Tests and have only lost one Test to the scummy Irish. I’m still dirty about that game. But we will get that back!
“We will get that back, don’t worry, we have them next year at home, we will get ’em back!”
Earlier in the talk, Jones discusses Japan Under-20s losing to their Welsh counterparts 125-0 shortly after he took over as Brave Blossoms head coach in 2012.
“Wales. Who knows Wales? Are there any Welsh people here? So it’s this little s*** place that has got three million people. Three million!” he said.
In his apology, released by the Rugby Football Union, Jones said: “I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused – no excuses and I shouldn’t have said what I did. I’m very sorry.”
Jones could be without Dylan Hartley and Elliot Daly for the game against Ireland after both emerged as injury doubts on Wednesday ahead of his team announcement.
Ahead of the final round of the Six Nations, we take a look at five with a point to prove.
Who do you think will make the biggest impact?
DANNY CARE AND GEORGE FORD
It’s been a disappointing campaign so far for the duo who struggled to get their side on the front foot in demoralising defeats to Scotland and France.
With everyone focusing on the potential opportunities afforded from the Ford-Farrell axis, people are forgetting that without Care-Ford on the ball, there is no way Farrell can get the ball and execute his skills.
With Ben Youngs injured, England are devoid of a serious leader who is able to get the pack ticking.
Ford – on the other hand – has lacked fizz and pace to orchestrate his side and his place may be under serious threat against Ireland.
Showing signs of ‘second season syndrome’ and looks to be struggling from the after-effects of the British & Irish Lions tour during the summer.
For a player so spectacular last season, the 23-year-old has lacked energy and commitment around the park in the four rounds to date.
His sole spark has been his towering line-out presence but Eddie Jones needs more from his ace talisman if they are to deny Ireland a Grand Slam at Twickenham.
The Saracens man needs a mammoth performance against the Irish to end his championship on a positive note.
The Glasgow out-half may have rose to the occasion against England, but his loose play effectively cost Scotland the game against Wales – and nearly France.
For a player considered a leader in Gregor Townsend’s dressing room, his error-strewn displays are not the traits normally associated with a 10 who is meant to lead by example with ball in hand.
The 25-year-old has a tendency to make rash decisions and is weak in defence, as seen when he allowed Teddy Thomas to slip in for a try against France. The Racing-bound player needs to step up against Italy for his fans to have faith in him.
There’s no doubting the elusive full-back is a sparkling presence, but he failed to impose himself against a below par Italian side.
He missed a tackle on Matteo Minozzi as the Zebre full-back raced over for a try and was subsequently sin-binned for an illegal tackle before the break, although it could be argued it was harsh, with the hit full-blooded rather than malicious.
His deficiencies in attack and overall discipline – for a tackle that some saw as a red – led to him being substituted on 51 minutes. A rare blip in his overall consistent displays – but it’s vital he finishes with a flourish in Cardiff this weekend if Warren Gatland decides to select him against France.
The former Bordeaux coach may have won the plaudits for his side’s resounding win over England, but in essence, Les Bleus struggled for nearly 50 minutes of the contest.
The 64-year-old has yet to prove he can pick a starting team – and needs to start showing signs of direction and a game plan that can compete with bigger teams.
If Brunel is to walk away from the championship this weekend with the support of the FFR, his players and fans, then he needs to prove he is building for the future, especially with a Rugby World Cup 18 months away.
The final round of Six Nations fixtures is upon us; Ireland have the title in the bag already – but what are the burning questions as we prepare to round off a largely one-sided competition?
Can England get back on the chariot?
While Ireland roll into Twickenham with a Grand Slam on their mind, the bulk of the attention will still fall on England. Cut apart by Scotland, and humbled by France, the wheels have well and truly fallen off for Eddie Jones in the space of a fortnight.
With question marks hanging over a number of his high-profile charges including Dylan Hartley, Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and George Ford, can Jones re-ignite the side to the levels of the last 18 months when they were considered potential 2019 World Cup winners?
A change of personnel is needed, but the Australian coach is known for his stubbornness and insistence on doing things his way.
If they don’t change, both the starting line-up and their style of play, the Irish will have a field day – particularly at the breakdown leaving the Red Rose at their lowest ebb during Jones’ tenure.
Will Scotland find a performance? Can Italy prove their worth?
Gregor Townsend’s men go from the sublime to the ridiculous. Woeful in Cardiff, battling against France, destructive against England, toothless against Ireland.
What they would give for a little consistency.
They are in a no-win situation heading to Rome but a comfortable win would at least end things on a high for them.
Italy have been in reverse for two years and the calls for their future in the Six Nations to be considered get louder and louder.
With Georgia knocking on the door, Conor O’Shea’s men need a performance. Not necessarily a win, but an 80-minute performance that shows the rugby world they can compete and are not out of sight long before the end.
Will we see into the future in Cardiff?
Despite a mixed bag of results, you could still argue Wales have been something of a surprise package in this Six Nations.
A new style of play, and the revelation of a greater strength in depth than the Welsh public thought has Warren Gatland’s men looking in a good place.
With the injection of new-blood has come a greater sense of optimism, not only for the immediate future, but for the World Cup which is quickly creeping upon us.
End the Six Nations on a high, and a likely second-place finish and there are more than solid foundations to build on for the coming years.
As for the French, who knows what the future could hold? They need to get out of Cardiff with their pride intact and back to the drawing board.