LONDON (Reuters) – Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones shrugged off criticism from England coach Eddie Jones ahead of the teams’ Six Nations clash after the outspoken Australian fired off a verbal volley at his namesake in the build-up to the match.
Eddie Jones took his namesake to task by accusing him of failing to “respect the integrity of the referee” in Wales’s opening game against Scotland.
Jones stood in front of Finn Russell to prevent the Scotland flyhalf from converting Peter Horne’s late try while the television match official reviewed the score during Wales’ 34-7 victory.
Russell, aware there might have been an infringement, rushed to take the conversion, only for the Wales lock to effectively block the kick as he strode towards the referee.
“I thought that was right out of order. When he tried to stop the referee from allowing the kick at goal – we can’t have that in the game,” Eddie Jones said.
“That’s borrowed from another sport and I really hope World Rugby doesn’t allow that to creep into the game because it shouldn’t be part of the game.”
But Wales lock Jones had but a brief response when questioned ahead of the match at Twickenham on Saturday.
“There was no issue at the time,” he said on Friday. “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. I will have a chat with Uncle Eddie after the game.”
The skipper also brushed aside Jones’ assertions that Wales flyhalf Rhys Patchell would be under pressure and was too inexperienced.
“People forget that Rhys Patchell has been in the squad for a good few years now,” Jones said.
The England coach, never shy to stoke up the flames before a key clash, was taken to task by one of his predecessors in the job.
“Eddie Jones was in combative form as he launched a twin-pronged attack on Rhys Patchell and Alun Wyn Jones but I don’t think it was needed and comments like this can backfire,” Clive Woodward wrote in a newspaper column on Friday
“I’m all for a bit of knockabout stuff with the media before a game but you need to pick your moment and your game — and I don’t think this is it.”
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson,; Editing by Ed Osmond)