England head coach Eddie Jones was back in the headlines for the wrong reasons this week, and not for the first time since he took control of the team at the tail-end of 2015.
The 61-year-old was accused of sexism and misogyny for using British tennis sensation Emma Raducanu as an example of how England prospect Marcus Smith could suffer if he allows off-field distractions to detract from his sporting career.
"There's a reason why the girl who won the U.S. Open [Raducanu] hasn't done so well afterwards," he said. "What have you seen her on? The front page of Vogue, the front page of Harper's Bazaar, whatever it is, wearing Christian Dior clothes.
"He [Smith] is grounded, but they all start off grounded. No-one starts with their feet off the ground or they don't get in the team, or they don't win a U.S. Open. But there's this flood of distractions that comes in that makes you ungrounded."
Jones has long held a reputation as one of rugby's more outspoken figures, and Mirror Sport highlights some of his more contentious comments as England coach ahead of his sixth anniversary in the job. . .
"S*** Wales" and the "scummy Irish"
Rugby's rivalries are part of what makes the Test arena so entertaining, but that competition seemed oddly personal for Jones when he delivered a talk on leadership for truck and bus manufacturer Fuso in July 2017.
England had just been crowned Six Nations champions but were denied a Grand Slam following a 13-9 defeat to Ireland in the final game, which also happened to be Jones' first loss since taking over the team almost 18 months prior.
“We’ve played 23 Tests and we’ve only lost one Test to the scummy Irish,” he told the audience. “I’m still dirty about that game, but we’ll get that back, don’t worry. We’ve got them next year at home so don’t worry, we’ll get that back.”
The former Japan coach's competitive nature has aided his success, which made his critique of Wales in the same speech all the more confusing given he had led England to three straight wins against their border rivals at the time.
“Wales. Who knows Wales," he asked. "Are there any Welsh people here? So it’s this little s*** place that has got three million people. Three million!”
Jones and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) each issued apologies after the video began doing the rounds in 2018.
Whether the comments had an impact in fuelling the fire, Wales went on to beat the Red Rose and seal a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2019, their first meeting after the video of Jones' harsh words came to light.
Targeting vulnerable Johnny Sexton
There's an age-old proverb that rugby is 'a game for hooligans played by gentlemen', but that doesn't mean there aren't those in the sport who are above targeting weakness when they see it.
Enter Jones, who attempted to ruffle feathers before a 2016 Six Nations clash with Ireland, when he suggested fly-half Johnny Sexton's parents "would be worried" about him playing despite a "whiplash injury" against France two weeks earlier.
"Sexton is an interesting one, they've talked about him having whiplash injury which is not a great thing to talk about," he said in February that year.
"I'm sure his mother and father would be worried about that. Hopefully, the lad's all right on Saturday to play."
Jones was challenged on the idea of targeting vulnerable players but doubled down on his stance, questioning why his team would avoid a potential chink in the Irish armour.
“We target players all the time. That's part of rugby is it not? Is there some sort of special law there?"
"There are 15 players out there. Are we supposed to not run at one player? Hang on, hang on, he's got a red dot on his head, we don't run at him.
"Rugby's a game of 15 players on the field. When we're attacking, we're attacking weak defenders. Why would we run at the strongest defender?"
Perhaps it wasn't the notion of targeting a bruised player that irked, but the fact Jones would broadcast as much in public, never mind bringing Sexton's players into the conversation, didn't sit well with some.
"I’m an Australian, I’m a convict, mate”
In a particularly controversial week early on in his England tenure, Jones was the spotlight after his side beat Ireland 21-10 at Twickenham in that 2016 encounter, assured he didn't "regret anything" about his words in the lead-up.
Following that result, the ex- Wallabies coach bristled when asked by reporters about his penchant for pre-game tactics via the media: “Of course you do. What’s wrong with that? Why are you being critical of that?”
However, Jones turned the spotlight on himself when quizzed if that's what he attempted to do with his remarks on the recently injured Sexton: “I don’t know, mate. I’m not that smart. I’m an Australian, I’m a convict, mate.”
The comment was a self-deprecating reference to Australia's origins as a penal colony meant for criminals, though ironically used by Jones on this occasion to evade judgement.
Foul-mouthed Argentina tirade
There are times during Jones' career when passions have run so high that not even a microphone is required to tell how he's feeling.
It was during the 2017 November internationals that Argentina suffered a 21-8 defeat at Twickenham, but tensions were still high when flanker Sam Underhill conceded a second-half penalty inside English territory.
"F***," Jones could be seen bellowing from his seat in the coach's box. "How f*****g stupid are we?"
It's the kind of reaction that might happen multiple times per game for some coaches, although the more camera-conscious appear to have reeled in those emotions in modern times.
“I haven’t seen it," said Jones when asked about the outburst after England's win.
"How frustrated? Throwing stuff? That is pretty frustrated. We want to play well, we want to play good rugby, and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be frustrated.”
Rejecting Lions 'ambassador job'
Only three coaches from outside Britain and Ireland have led a Lions tour to date, but it doesn't seem likely Jones will join that contingent any time soon.
That's if his previous assessment of the job is anything to go by at least, having harpooned any chance of leading the 2021 tour of South Africa by suggesting it wasn't a real coaching job.
"The last thing I want to do is spend eight weeks in a blazer," Jones told the Brisbane Courier Mail in March 2019.
"That's an ambassador job. I'm a coach. I'd rather coach the Queensland Sheffield Shield (cricket) team."
In the end, favourite Warren Gatland was indeed picked for a third stint leading the Lions, who lost 2-1 to the Springboks earlier this year.
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