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‘We owe them one – last year’s defeat still irks me’

As Eddie Jones plots revenge against Wales tomorrow, Wayne Pivac refuses to do a Gatland and play mind games with his Aussie rival.

Jones says he is indulging in 'silent comedy'.
Jones says he is indulging in 'silent comedy'.
Image: PA

EDDIE JONES WAS – by his standards – fairly diplomatic. Having pledged ‘brutality’ against the French, after previously calling Wales a ‘shit little place’, he softened his cough at yesterday’s press conference. The nastiest thing he is prepared to say about Wayne Pivac’s side was that they ‘owe them one’ for last year’s 21-13 defeat in Cardiff.

You never like to lose to Wales and we lost last year,” Jones said. “It certainly irks me.

“All you (the Press) will get from me this week is a silent comedy. I’m not making any comments.”

Well that makes a pleasant change. Still, Jones suggested that defeat in Cardiff propelled his team to the World Cup final – because they learned so much from it.

“That was one of the key games that got us in our best condition for the World Cup.

“It’s still a game that I’m sure every player who played in it, it irks them. It certainly irks me. England-Wales games are a little bit different, aren’t they?

“Since I’ve been coaching, the average points difference is six points. They are tough affairs. It goes down to the wire.

“Wales, under Warren, have been one of the most physical teams in the world.

“We saw that in the World Cup when they ran South Africa close in that semi-final in a tough, physical game.

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“So they always bring that to the party and Wayne Pivac’s trying to add a more passing attack game.”

For his part, Pivac is also adding calmness to the pre-match build-up. Whereas Gatland was prepared to wind up Jones and England, his successor is more Jim Gavin than Conor McGregor. Still, he has noticed a temperature change in his squad this week.

“You’ve only got to listen to Alun Wyn during the week,” Pivac said. “The intensity is there in his voice and everything he’s done, he’s led from the front. The level of intensity has noticeably gone up in training. That tells me a big performance is coming.”

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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