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Jones dismisses Woodward's 'ridiculous' Cokanasiga comparison to Lomu

‘That tells you why when you have the television on you should have the commentary down.’

England head coach Eddie Jones (left) and Clive Woodward.
England head coach Eddie Jones (left) and Clive Woodward.
Image: PA Images

EDDIE JONES INSISTED attempts by old rival Clive Woodward to compare Joe Cokanasiga to New Zealand great Jonah Lomu were “ridiculous” after the England wing rampaged his way round Twickenham during a Six Nations rout of Italy.

The 21-year-old Bath flyer, an imposing figure at 6ft 4in tall and 18 stones in weight, repeatedly outpaced and overpowered the Italy cover as England hammered the Azzurri 57-14 on Saturday to keep their Six Nations title hopes alive ahead of their concluding clash at home to Scotland this weekend.

England ran in eight tries, with the only surprise that Fiji-born Cokanasiga, the official man-of-the-match, was not among the scorers. Jones had only selected Cokanasiga for his fourth Test appearance after Jack Nowell was ruled out with a shoulder injury.

But Woodward, commentating on television, had clearly seen enough to compare him with the late Lomu, who set the template for the modern powerhouse wing with a series of devastating displays at the 1995 World Cup before hosts South Africa beat the All Blacks in the final.

“That’s ridiculous,” said Jones in response to Woodward’s comments. “That tells you why when you have the television on you should have the commentary down,” added Jones, in charge of the Australia side that lost the 2003 World Cup final in his hometown of Sydney to Woodward’s England.

“The guy [Cokanasiga] has just started. Lomu almost won a World Cup for New Zealand, changed the way the game’s played. So let’s get serious about it.”

England v Italy - Guinness Six Nations - Twickenham Stadium Joe Cokanasiga pictured after England's win against Italy. Source: Adam Davy

Jones also cautioned Cokanasiga against carrying the ball in one hand rather than the textbook two.

“As long as he does it well we don’t see any sort of issue with it,” said the current England coach. “When it gets knocked out of his hand then he might have to change it. At the moment he can do it, so great,” Jones added.

Cokanasiga, who tried to give his man-of-the-match medal to two-try centre Manu Tuilagi, appeared to have heeded his coach’s advice.

“I get a good feel of the ball in just one hand, and if the opportunity comes, then I’ll do it. I’ve got to be careful though because you could easily get a knock-on. I probably should take it with two,” he said.

“It comes naturally, I don’t really think about it. I am not there to do it for entertainment. As long as I am enjoying the way I play it, then I’m happy.”

© – AFP, 2019

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