Eddie Jones lashes out at Italy tactics

"It wasn't rugby. Let's face the facts"

BY Raf Diallo 19:16 Sunday 26 February 2017, 19:16 26 Feb 2017

England head coach Eddie Jones ©INPHO/James Crombie

England head coach Eddie Jones has criticised Italy's tactics in their Six Nations clash, stating his view that it's "not rugby".

England ultimately prevailed 36-15 to keep their Grand Slam hopes alive, despite trailing 10-5 at half time.

But the outspoken Jones did not hide his displeasure about the way Conor O'Shea's Italy avoided forming rucks - although he added that he understands why they did it.

Initially he was critical in his immediate post-match interview with BBC Sport, where he said: "It wasn't rugby. Let's face the facts. 

"Italy were smart and congratulations to their coaching staff, they executed that plan brilliantly, but we haven't had a rugby game."

He went on to say: "It's not a good advertisement for the game. It's got no structure, it's got no form and it has no meaning".

He expanded on his thoughts with BBC Radio 5 Live in which he was at pains to emphasise that he "wasn't critical of Italy" because "they did what they needed to do to stay in the game".

"Obviously they've been watching Trevor Chapell - the underarm bowl along the ground - to make sure they can't hit a six," he said, referencing cricket.

"So, well done to Italy, very smart. We knew they'd come with something. They took the game to the nth degree and it wasn't rugby. We haven't played a game of rugby yet. We might have to go out and train after this."  

He added that: "Nobody wants to see rugby not played in its proper form. I think World Rugby need to have a very close look at it". 

Jones added that the referee Romain Poite had a "terrible day" while he would also say "if that's rugby, then I'm going to retire".


Italy's Irish head coach O'Shea described the criticism from pundits about the way his side approaches the game as "hypocritical" when he gave his take on BBC.

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