Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Eddie Jones warns England to expect the unexpected ahead of France showdown

Eddie Jones has placed his players on standby to round up any loose cockerels at the Stade de France as England prepare for fun and games from opponents intent on denying them the Grand Slam.

The newly crowned RBS 6 Nations champions have been braced by their head coach for all eventualities during their warm-up when they face France in the eagerly awaited climax to the tournament in Paris.

"You never know if there is something we might not be ready for," the Australian said.

"We made some contingency plans on Wednesday evening with some of the main players and talked about what could potentially happen. We wanted to get them thinking about it.

"Everyone's got to be on their toes. If we get a smaller warm-up space, if the marching band starts walking into our warm-up or if they let loose 15 cockerels… We're going to have to round them up, put them back in their cage and get on with the warm-up.

"I would imagine that at the start of the game there are going to be marching bands and cockerels racing around.

"This is a big game for us and the rest of the tournament. Everyone outside the English doesn't want England to win.

"The French are going to be doing their absolute utmost to make sure we don't win. We've got to be good enough to cope with it.

"I'd imagine there will be everything French going on at the start of the game and you'd expect that. You'd be disappointed if that didn't happen."

Jones insists his experience of coaching Australia in the 2003 Tri-Nations has demonstrated the lengths teams will go to in search of landing a pre-match psychological blow.

"I'll always remember when we beat South Africa in Sydney and then went to Johannesburg two weeks later to play on Nelson Mandela's birthday - the great man," Jones said.

"The bus comes late, we're late to the ground, there are spears going through the wall during the warm-up - everything you can think of.

"We get back to the dressing room after the worst warm-up and who's sitting in a golf cart in front of our dressing room? Nelson Mandela.

"No-one can tell him to leave, obviously, so we have to wait outside the dressing room. We got back just in time to come out for kick-off.

"I would imagine all this is going to happen on Saturday. I'd be disappointed if it doesn't. We've got to be good enough to cope with it all."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph