Sapporo, Japan, Sept 23 (AFP/APP):England coach Eddie Jones has told his side to prepare for “15 Donald Trumps” when they face the United States at the Rugby World Cup.
Jones’s men have just a four-day turnaround from their opening 35-3 win over Tonga on Sunday until Thursday’s match in Kobe, which sees the United States launch their Pool C campaign.
And while, unlike geo-politics, the Eagles are a second-string rugby union nation rather than a superpower, Jones expects them to be as fiery as the outspoken US president.
“I’ve watched every game, but the only game I’m worried about at the moment is the USA,” said Jones. “The only game I am interested in is the USA.
“I know they’ve been down in Okinawa and they’ve had a two-week prep, so they’re going to come out all guns blazing.
“It’s going to be like 15 Donald Trumps out there, so we’ll have to be on our job, because we know they’re going to give it everything they’ve got, just like Tonga did. That’s great for us because we’ll have to be at our best.”
The vastly experienced Jones was the coach of his native Australia when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England. Four years later, he was a consultant to title-winners South Africa, before masterminding Japan’s shock win over the Springboks at the 2015 edition in England.
His current side were not at their best against Tonga but still secured a bonus-point win without conceding a try.
Asked if England now needed to make a “statement” with a more convincing victory over the United States, Jones insisted: “We don’t need to make statements.
“World Cups aren’t about statements, they are about progressing with an aim in mind and being at your best when you need to be at your best,” he added. “Statements are for you guys (the press), not for me.”
Trump has become something of a running theme in the career of Jones, who was once unfavourably compared to the US president by former Scotland player and celebrated coach Jim Telfer.
“Eddie Jones doesn’t want to beat teams, he wants to demolish them, which I find a bit disappointing,” Telfer said in 2017.
“The way he speaks, it’s a bit like Donald Trump. He wants to be the big man, you know?”
Last year Jones labelled Bruce Craig the “Donald Trump of rugby” after the Bath owner criticised his methods following a rash of injuries at England training camps.
“Bruce Craig sounds like the Donald Trump of rugby. He has the same hairstyle,” Jones said.
“Everything we do is about training to get better, it’s not about satisfying some bloke who has got plenty of money in Bath and thinks he knows everything about rugby. I find it all a bit tedious.”