As Eddie Jones has already said so far these 6 Nations his English team are again “the underdogs”. This time it is in relation to England’s upcoming match against Ireland.
Whether Ireland sees it that way is a different story. Both teams have just one loss in these 6 Nations. Making for a mouth-watering showdown at Twickenham come Saturday.
Whether Jones saying publicly that his team are the underdogs is useful for his side remains unclear. It did not work in the leadup to the Calcutta Cup fixture versus Scotland. Scotland took out that match, to gain their only victory of the 6 Nations so far.
I can’t imagine Jones recognises this English team as the favourites to beat an unbeaten France either. Therefore, Eddie must see his side as the fourth best in the competition, going by what he states publicly. Which seems absurd.
Jones may just be attempting a few mind games as he so often does in the leadup to big fixtures. However, it doesn’t appear to be having the effect he is hoping for. Especially given the whole underdog mentality he is currently adopting, does not appear to be working for his side.
This England team is looking somewhat precarious. They are two wins from three games but are yet to face the two best teams in the competition, Ireland and France. They only just managed to beat Wales in their last encounter, where they were also outscored three tries to one.
There is a plethora of attacking talent in Jone’s squad, but no one seems to be operating at their best.
In respect of England’s tactics against Ireland Jones had this to say.
'Ireland haven't played a game as physical as this for a long time'
Eddie Jones on physicality, Peter O'Mahony, and what he has learnt from France.. pic.twitter.com/m9xJFpzJ4J
— Chris Jones BBC (@chjones9) March 10, 2022
Jones believes Ireland have not had a match of great physicality since their 2017 match against the South Africans. Therefore, if England can bring that physicality they might just get the better of the Irish. This logic is obviously flawed. Ireland played a physically dominant French team just a few weeks ago.
The squad strength and depth available to Jones is up there with the best in the world. One must wonder if he is no longer getting the best out of his side.
England: 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Jamie George, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Charlie Ewels, 6. Courtney Lawes (C), 7. Tom Curry, 8. Sam Simmonds, 9. Harry Randall, 10. Marcus Smith, 11. Jack Nowell, 12. Henry Slade, 13. Joe Marchant, 14. Max Malins, 15. Freddie Steward
Reserves: 16. Jamie Blamire, 17. Joe Marler, 18. Will Stuart, 19. Joe Launchbury, 20. Alex Dombrandt, 21. Ben Youngs, 22. George Ford, 23. Elliot Daly.
Ireland: 1. Cian Healy, 2. Dan Sheehanm, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Tadhg Beirne, 5. James Ryan, 6. Peter O’Mahony, 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. Caelan Doris, 9. Jamison Gibson-Park, 10.Jonathan Sexton (c), 11. James Lowe, 12. Bundee Aki, 13.Garry Ringrose, 14. Andrew Conway, 15.
Reserves: Hugo Keenan, 16. Rob Herring, 17. Dave Kilcoyne, 18. Finlay Bealham, 19. Iain Henderson, 20. Jack Conan, 21. Conor Murray, 22. Joey Carbery, 23. Robbie Henshaw.