LONDON (AFP) – England coach Eddie Jones has apologised “unreservedly” after a video emerged Wednesday in which he made derogatory remarks regarding both Ireland and Wales.
The video shows Jones addressing a conference at Fuso, the parent company of England sponsors Mitsubishi, last year where he referred to the Irish as “scummy” and described Wales as a “shit place”.
The Australian’s incendiary remarks were uploaded by Fuso to Youtube in July but came to light just days before England will try to stop 2018 Six Nations champions Ireland from completing a Grand Slam at Twickenham tomorrow.
Until this season, the only match England had lost since Jones took over following their first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup was when Ireland denied them a Grand Slam with a 13-9 victory in Dublin last year.
“We’ve only lost one Test to the scummy Irish,” Jones said in the video.
“I’m still dirty about that game, but we will get ‘em back. We will get that back, don’t worry, we have got them next year at home, we will get ‘em back!”
Earlier in the talk Jones, mentioning how Japan Under-20s lost 125-0 to their Welsh counterparts shortly after he became the head coach of the senior Japan men’s team in 2012, said: “Wales! Who knows Wales? It’s this little shit place that has got three million people – three million!”
Former Australia and Japan coach Jones, in an apology released by England’s governing Rugby Football Union, said: “I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused – no excuses and I shouldn’t have said what I did. I’m very sorry.”
In the unlikely event Ireland – chasing what would be just their third Grand Slam of all time – needed any extra motivation for the St Patrick’s Day clash then Jones has certainly given them an added incentive to win this weekend.
His comments will have caused huge embarrassment to Twickenham chiefs, with an RFU spokeswoman saying: “Eddie has apologised for his inappropriate remarks, and the RFU is also very sorry for any offence caused and will apologise to the IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union) and WRU (Welsh Rugby Union).”
Jones’ jibes are also likely to lead to accusations of hypocrisy. He received widespread sympathy after being verbally and physically abused while travelling on public transport and posing for selfies with Scotland fans after England’s 25-13 Calcutta Cup loss at Murrayfield.
But Jones said a newspaper column, in which former Scotland captain Gavin Hastings indicated Scotland would love nothing more than “to rub Eddie Jones’ face in the dirt”, had contributed to an incendiary atmosphere.
“If you talk about hate and you talk about rubbing people’s nose in the dirt, and all those sorts of things, it incites certain behaviours,” Jones said. “Are they the sorts of behaviours that we want to see?”
England head into tomorrow’s match on the back of the first real dip of Jones’ reign after successive defeats by Scotland and France ended their hopes of a third straight Six Nations title under the outspoken coach.
Their record under Jones now stands at 24 wins in 27 Tests and a further loss tomorrow could see England finish as low as fifth in the table.