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Eddie Jones will not face the media ahead of crunch Wales clash

Published 28/02/2016

Eddie Jones has imposed a media ban on himself
Eddie Jones has imposed a media ban on himself

England will approach their likely RBS 6 Nations title decider against Wales with head coach Eddie Jones observing a self-imposed media blackout.

Jones is smarting at the reaction to comments he made over the welfare of Johnny Sexton, in which he referenced the Ireland fly-half's parents, during the build up to Saturday's 21-10 victory at Twickenham.

The Australian plans to end his silence on the eve of a match that could see England crowned champions with a round to spare, a scenario that will unfold if Wales are dispatched and Scotland topple France at Murrayfield.

One of the most eagerly-awaited Six Nations fixtures of recent times - the rivals have been picking up momentum ahead of their March 12 showdown - will thus be marred by a muted build-up in which supporters will be denied Jones' views for almost a fortnight due to the looming fallow week.

A Six Nations spokesperson has confirmed that there are no tournament regulations in place that oblige a head coach to talk to the media.

During a feisty exchange with journalists after Ireland had been comprehensively beaten in the most impressive display of his brief reign, Jones defended his claim that Sexton's parents "would be worried" about the whiplash injury he suffered against France.

"From this press conference onwards I'm putting a media ban on myself. I don't want to do any scaremongering or do anything that offends the media or offends people's parents," Jones said.

"From here until next Friday before the Wales game I'm not talking to the media. So no one will have to worry about scaremongering and all that type of thing.

"Mate, if I don't say anything you come away from the press conference and say it's boring.

"If I say something I'm scaremongering. I can't win, so the easiest way is that I don't come to the media conference."

When asked if he regretted mentioning Sexton's parents, Jones replied: "I don't regret anything. Why would I regret it? Ireland said he had whiplash injuries, not me.

"It's a sideshow, it's finished. The main event is over, we're not talking about the sideshow any more."

Jones is famed for seeking to land a psychological blow on the opposition before a ball has been kicked, and in Wales counterpart Warren Gatland he faces an adversary every bit as adept at verbal jousting.

To date he has offered his thoughts on two separate days before the weekend's game, starting on a Monday, but even the team announcement on Thursday week will pass without the 56-year-old outlining the reasons behind his decisions.

Gatland's first appearance is due 24 hours earlier on the Wednesday when he is scheduled to announce the 23 who will do battle with the only team still capable of winning the Grand Slam.

The Kiwi, who has presided over three victories at Twickenham as Wales head coach, may have to plan for the return of Manu Tuilagi to English ranks after Jones repeated his desire to include the Leicester centre in his squad for the pivotal showdown.

It has been 21 months since Tuilagi's last international appearance following his battle with groin and hamstring issues, but he continues his comeback for Leicester against London Irish on Sunday.

"We'll see how Manu though that game and then we're hopeful that he'll be able to train with us sometime next week. It's a case of seeing where he's at," Jones said.

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