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Eddie Jones dubs Ireland 'red-hot favourites' after visit to coffee shop

Meanwhile, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell pointed out that ‘praise makes you weak’

England head coach Eddie Jones.
England head coach Eddie Jones.
Image: PA

THIS WEEK STARTED with Eddie Jones underlining Ireland’s position as favourites for their clash with his England team on Saturday and he has now upgraded that status to “red-hot favourites.”

The England boss enjoys pushing opposition teams forward as being the more fancied side and this week has been no different.

While Ireland are the actual narrow favourites, Jones claims he has been seeing and hearing strong predictions of Irish success this weekend.

“What I do know is they’re red-hot favourites,” said Jones this afternoon when asked about Andy Farrell’s team.

“I went to the coffee shop yesterday and the girl says, ‘That Irish team must be good, all their ex-players think they’re going to win the game and all the ex-England players think they’re going to win the game. They must be a pretty good team. How are you feeling?’

“I said, ‘Just give me the coffee please.’”

Jones declined to say whether he personally agreed with Ireland’s status as favourites for the clash in Twickenham.

“I’m not a bookmaker, mate, I’m a coach,” said Jones.

“All I’m worried about is my team playing well. We’re prepared and we’re going to go after them, mate.”

The England head coach repeated his point that the Irish players’ understanding of each other is a key strength for them.

Farrell’s starting XV for this weekend includes 11 Leinster players, with another two on the bench, and Jones sees this as an advantage ahead of a game that he billed as being a Six Nations semi-final.

“They’re a very cohesive team,” said Jones. “80% of the team train for 11 months of the year. They’re a highly organised national union that gets the players in the best condition so we’ve got to break their cohesion.

“Once we break their cohesion, we’ll have opportunities to attack and we’ve then got to be good enough to take them.

eddie-jones-during-the-warm-up Jones's side have beaten Italy and Wales. Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

“It’s a semi-final, mate. One of the two teams progresses to the final which is the last game. Both teams know what’s at stake, but if you read the papers there is only one team that has a chance of winning it.

“When you’re playing against a team that has to basically jump out of the barrier and win then you’ve got to make sure your horse is ready to go. All I’ve been doing is trying to get my horse ready to go.”

Across the Irish Sea, Ireland head coach Farrell spoke soon before Jones’ latest media conference.

Asked about Jones’ earlier point that Ireland are the favourites, Farrell said those kinds of comments have no impact on him. 

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“It doesn’t bother me whatsoever, I don’t see what it does for and against,” said Farrell. “It’s just about us preparing properly.

“I also know that Eddie has said plenty of times in the past as well that praise makes you weak. We make sure we take care of our house and prepare over the coming days, get ready to perform.”

Indeed, Farrell was keen to underline that Ireland must make life difficult for the English players, who will have a big home crowd roaring them on at Twickenham.

Jones’ men narrowly lost their opening Six Nations game against Scotland but have beaten Italy and Wales since.

“We’ve got to make sure that they’ve got a bump in the road,” said Farrell.

“You say that they’re building through the competition but we’ve got to put a stop to that, haven’t we?

“That’s our intention, to go over there and prove to ourselves that there’s a performance in there from us that’s a step above what we’ve shown already.” 

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