Eddie Jones Says “I’m Not Donald Trump” As He Continues Ireland Mind Games
Things are heating up.
Eddie Jones continues to pile the pressure on Joe Schmidt and his Ireland team, branding them as ‘favourites’ to win this year’s Six Nations. Jones believes England’s injury problems give Ireland a distinct advantage.
He says with this mantle comes great expectations, and questioned Ireland and Joe Schmidt’s ability to manage this pressure.
Speaking at yesterday’s Six Nations launch, Jones said Ireland have a great coach and some good leadership, but noted the question will always be there.
“Well, it’s different, isn’t it? You go into a major tournament – and this is one of the major tournaments in the world – if you go in as favourites it comes with massive expectations.” Jones said
“Fans, supporters, media, sponsors… it’s how you react to that expectation, but they’ve got a great coach and they’ve got good leadership in the team so I’m sure they’ll be able to handle it. But there’s always that question there…”
Jones was challenged on his assertion, with many members of the media noting England are still favourites with the bookmakers, having won back-to-back Six Nations, but wouldn’t give an inch.
He once again referred to Ireland’s centrally-contracted system as a distinct advantage, claiming he’s “not Donald Trump” and can’t build a wall between England and the clubs.
“Well, if you read the press – which I do – Ireland have got a centrally-contracted system, their players are in great nick, their three provinces have done well in the European club system.” Jones continued.
“England have all these injuries and we don’t have central contracting. We’re lucky to have one side in the European club championship [quarter-finals]. So how can we compete?”
“I can’t control anything,”
“I’m not Donald Trump. I can’t build a wall between us and the clubs and ring-fence the players.
“All I can do is get the players and get them in the best physical condition and the best mental and physical state we can. The coaching team work with the leadership team of the players and bring forward the strongest team we can onto the field.
“You can only put 15 players on the field. I know that the 15 we put on the field against Italy in Rome will do England proud.”