PARIS (Reuters) – After earlier promising his team would unleash a ‘brutal physicality’ against France in their Six Nations game on Sunday, England coach Eddie Jones insisted rugby always had been and would always be a brutal game.
Asked to clarify his comments during a news conference on Friday, Jones stood his ground.
“Well, someone asked me how we were going to play. What did you want me to say? ‘We’re going to have a cup of tea?'” he said ahead of Sunday’s clash with Les Bleus.
Brutality, after all, is the essence of the game, Jones explained as he looked forward to the match against France, whom they demolished 44-8 at Twickenham in last year’s championship.
“I’m just stating the fact of how we want to play rugby, and that’s what rugby’s about,” he said.
“It has been ever since I watched the game and it will be as long as I watch the game.
“It’s a physical, confrontational game and your aim is to be brutal on the gain line. You either win or lose on the gain line and that’s going to be the case on Sunday.”
On Thursday, France coach Fabien Galthie, who picked a young team to face England, warned Les Bleus would fight fire with fire.
Jones expected that both sides would be up for a battle at the Stade de France.
“It’s nicknamed Le Crunch, isn’t it? I think there’s a reason for that,” he said.
“Great rivalry, historical rivalry between the two teams. It’s a battle for supremacy so we’re looking forward to it. I’m sure France are as well.”
France have not won the Six Nations since 2010, while World Cup runners-up England have won two of the last four, achieving a grand slam in 2016.
Despite the absence of Billy and Mako Vunipola among the forwards and the selection of the uncapped George Furbank at fullback, England are keen to impress in their first outing since losing the World Cup final against South Africa.
“The team’s gelled together really well: a nice blend of experience and youth coming in. Good team, playing in front of 80,000 at Stade de France against a young French team,” said Jones.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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