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Dublin: -1°C Monday 1 March 2021

Eddie Jones issues apology to journalist after race joke

The England head coach is under pressure ahead of Sunday’s game against Ireland.

Eddie Jones during the press conference.
Eddie Jones during the press conference.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

EDDIE JONES APOLOGISED to an English journalist yesterday after making a joke about being ‘half-Asian’.

At his daily press briefing, Jones was asked if he still practiced meditation, having confessed in an interview with The Times last year that mindfulness is part of his daily routine.

When answering the question, Jones said yesterday: “I don’t think I’ve ever spoken about meditation. You must be thinking about someone else — maybe another half-Asian person.”

He then joked: “Maybe we all look the same.”

The reporter didn’t see the funny side of things, explained this to Jones who soon apologised.

The RFU later issued a statement: “Eddie made an off-the-cuff comment during the press conference, which was not intended to cause any offence. He has subsequently spoken to the journalist privately, explaining this, and apologised, which was accepted.”

The key issue on Jones’ mind today is his team selection with three areas up for debate. At loose-head, he is deliberating between Joe Marler and Ellis Genge to replace Mako Vunipola. Both players are said to be slight injury doubts, however, with Bath’s Beno Obano back training with the England squad as cover.

Doubts also hang over centres Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade, who are coming back from groin and ankle injuries respectively.

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At blindside, there are three candidates in the mix: Ben Earl, Courtney Lawes and Lewis Ludlam. Jones names his side today.

Jonny May, meanwhile, reckons Sunday’s game will be decided in the air – a department England won last year at the Aviva Stadium.

“It’s certainly something you’re always aware of when you play Ireland,” May said. “It is something which is embedded in their rugby culture and their DNA, with that Gaelic sports background.

“If you are chasing a box-kick, dealing with that escort or “glove” — they have become more challenging over the past few years. Teams get in groups and people are tracking you, so you have to get around them. That is the first thing, while knowing where the ball is.

“Then it’s about timing your jump so that you are at your highest point when you are catching the ball. In training, we’ve got this big suit which someone will wear to replicate that body-on-body contact in the air. We also mess around with different types of balls, or balls which are wet — which they often are.”

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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