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Warren Gatland: Eddie Jones is an 'unknown quantity'

Warren Gatland views Eddie Jones' England as an "unknown quantity" who are capable of challenging for the RBS 6 Nations title.

Jones replaced Stuart Lancaster as head coach in the wake of the Red Rose's failure to qualify for the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time.

Gatland, who masterminded Wales' pool stage victory over the hosts, believes Jones' appointment will have an immediate impact on the team.

"I think Eddie will do a really good job. Always with a new coach coming in it will have an impact on players," Gatland said.

"You have to be motivated as players to impress the coaching staff. In recent years they have been close in terms of winning the title.

"They will come a bit under the radar, an unknown quantity. I think it will be a really open tournament.

"Eddie can build on the really good foundations laid by Stuart Lancaster to go forward."

Wales open their Six Nations against Ireland in Dublin on February 7 and Gatland is full of respect for Joe Schmidt's reigning champions, who he believes will adopt more expansive tactics this year.

"What I have learned in the past is that you do not write-off Ireland and you do not criticise them. They are a fantastic side and will be a tough team to beat," Gatland said.

"You have to take your hat off to Ireland in terms of having a game plan that has been incredibly effective.

"They have been brilliant in the air, have a great kicking strategy with Johnny Sexton at 10 and that has been successful for them.

"Sometimes when you come in as a new coach you are probably a little bit narrow in terms of the way you play and then you begin to develop and expand your game.

"I think Joe did that very much with Leinster and they were pretty attacking in the way they played and he has been effective in what Ireland have down.

"It's hard as a coach that when you have something that works to go away from that and change your gameplay when it has been effective and a winning formula. Potentially they will play a bit more rugby."


From Belfast Telegraph