In Brief

Six Nations ‘brutality’: Eddie Jones chose the wrong word, says Shaun Edwards

France defensive coach criticises England chief for his pre-match comments

France defence coach Shaun Edwards has criticised England chief Eddie Jones for his pre-match comments last week. 

In promising to bring “absolute brutality” to Paris for the Six Nations clash with France, Jones riled his opponents to such an extent that they produced a dominant display and humiliated the England coach.

Jones had implied that a young French team wouldn’t be able to handle the English aggression, but as it turned out, it was his boys who were bullied and battered in the Stade de France on Sunday. 

Much of the credit has gone to Edwards, the newly-appointed defence coach of France, and in an interview with The Times, the rugby league legend said Jones only has himself to blame for the defeat.

Wrong word

“I thought Eddie chose the wrong word there, to be honest,” said Englishman Edwards. “He probably should have said ‘physicality’. ‘Brutality’ brings to mind other things. I just think Eddie picked the wrong word.”

After their 24-17 victory several French players said that they had been determined to make England eat their words.

When asked if Jones’s jibe had provided extra motivation, Edwards replied: “When you’re playing in front of 75,000 in the first game of the Six Nations, if you need exterior motivation, you’re in the wrong place. They’re a pretty self-motivated bunch.”

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England error

The impact that Edwards has had on France - a team notorious in recent years for their dodgy defence - has left some wondering why England have never called on the services of one of their own. 

“It’s a masterstroke from whoever [in France] decided to reach out to Shaun Edwards,” said Lawrence Dallaglio, who worked with Edwards at Wasps a decade or so ago. “It begs the question, ‘Should the RFU be kicking themselves?’ The answer is ‘yes’.”

Edwards did great work with the Welsh rugby union for many years but had decided early last year to seek a fresh challenge. 

According to Dallaglio, Edwards told him he would “love that England job”, but no call came from the RFU and so France seized their chance.

This weekend’s fixtures

Saturday’s Six Nations fixtures see Ireland host Wales in Dublin (2.15pm GMT; ITV and S4C) and England travel to Murrayfield to face Scotland in the Calcutta Cup (4.45pm GMT; BBC). On Sunday France take on Italy in Paris (3pm GMT; BBC).

Today’s back pages

Tuilagi’s Six Nations fears

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