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Dublin: 7°C Monday 26 October 2020

'I said it in jest' - Jones rows back on Gatland criticism

The England coach claims he meant no disrespect when criticising the tactics of the Lions boss.

England head coach Eddie Jones.
England head coach Eddie Jones.

EDDIE JONES HAS downplayed disparaging comments he made about Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions tactics.

The Lions flew out to New Zealand on Monday and will face the Provincial Barbarians on Saturday in the first of six warm-up matches before taking on the All Blacks in Auckland on 24 June.

Jones, who led England to an 18-game unbeaten run to match the All Blacks’ tier-one world record, had suggested that Gatland’s approach could play into the hands of Steve Hansen’s men.

He told The Telegraph’s ‘Full Contact’ podcast: “They are looking to attack like Wales, with big gain line runners, not much ball movement. You’ll struggle to beat the All Blacks like that.”

However, Jones has since clarified that he intended the line “in jest” in an attempt to boost the popularity of the show, hosted by former England player-turned-pundit Brian Moore.

“I was just having a bit of fun with Brian Moore,” Jones said. “He is an old sparring partner of mine. “i really don’t have any more to add to that. I said it in jest. I wanted to make his podcast popular.”

Jones’ attention will turn to his England side as an experimental selection shorn of many Lions talents travel to Argentina for two Tests against the Pumas, the first of which is on 10 June.

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