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Simon Easterby won't rise to jibes from Eddie Jones

By Nick Purewal

Published 24/02/2016

Focused: Simon Easterby is ignoring Eddie Jones’ remarks
Focused: Simon Easterby is ignoring Eddie Jones’ remarks

Ireland must refuse to engage in Eddie Jones' phoney war ahead of Saturday's RBS Six Nations clash at Twickenham, according to Simon Easterby.

New England boss Jones likened Ireland's approach to the tactics once employed by Premier League club Stoke City, claiming Joe Schmidt's men kick possession away "60 per cent of the time".

Ireland boss Schmidt was quick to reject wily England counterpart Jones' barbs, branding the Australian's statistics inaccurate.

Now forwards coach Easterby has warned the Ireland squad not to allow themselves to be distracted by a war of words.

"Someone like Eddie is going to throw things out there, throw some comments out there, and that's great," said Easterby.

"We'll take that and bat it off. We've got to focus on what we're doing.

"I think there's a temptation to be drawn into something there with what he has to say, about any team, whether it's us or any team that he's coaching against."

Ireland will chase their first win at Twickenham since 2010 this weekend, with the reigning double Six Nations champions without a victory in the competition's opening two rounds.

Schmidt's men will pitch up in London under pressure from their draw with Wales and defeat in France, and also battling a raft of injuries.

Schmidt had been keen to set the record straight after Jones' jibe that Ireland play safety-first rugby, insisting: "Ireland have kicked less than a quarter of the possession we have had, which doesn't correspond with the statistics which have been reported".

England boss Jones has now twice cited Stoke City when referring to a limited gameplan. Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross took to the club's official match programme after Jones' first reference, calling on the England boss to "stick to what you know".

Easterby, however, is keen for Ireland to ignore the barbs from England's new boss, who has already freely admitted he will chase any available edge, including via mind games.

"We've just got to focus on what we're doing and not get drawn into too much of what he's talking about," added Easterby.

"It is what it is. Characters like that are good for the game, and we'll see come Saturday night how much of that rings true."

Belfast Telegraph

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