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‘It is not basketball’ | Keith Wood bemoans Eddie Jones' level of kicking

Former Ireland captain Keith Wood shot back at Eddie Jones on Monday Night Rugby on Off The Ball ...



Rugby

‘It is not basketball’ | Keith Wood bemoans Eddie Jones' level of kicking


Former Ireland captain Keith Wood shot back at Eddie Jones on Monday Night Rugby on Off The Ball for stating that his players were being disrespected by the media.

England played a very conservative game plan against France in their Autumn Nations Cup final on Sunday, which Jones defended.

Wood, however, thought that the tactics were ‘boring’, and did not live up to the talent of the youthful French opponents.

“I thought at the very start, when New Zealand started playing matches… with the freedom that they played with, I thought, ‘wow, is this going to happen in the future’,” Wood said.

“But as each game has gone on, it has happened less, and less, and less, to the total boring nature of England kicking the ball almost off the park for the whole day.

“The sad element of them winning when you see a youthful French side trying to do something a bit different.

“Of course, they kick it too, but it is not this constant kick it and start again.”

After the match, a number of former players and media outlets criticised the tactics, suggesting that it was ‘not entertainment’.

“Eddie Jones came out again today saying, ‘listen that is disrespectful to the players’,” Wood said.

“No it is not, it is showing him the level disrespect that he probably deserves for getting a team to kick the ball constantly.

“I think we are losing something if that is where rugby is going.”

Eddie Jones England Head coach Eddie Jones during the England Rugby Captain's Run at Twickenham Stadium in London, England. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jones needs to strike a balance

Wood does not believe that every team should ‘just throw the ball around’, but that kicking should not be the first option.

“It is not basketball,” Wood said. “It isn’t throw it about all the time, but it isn’t that kicking is the first, second and third option, and just get it out of your half.

“You will often hear me saying sometimes just kick it down the field, because that is what I believe you should do in certain circumstances.

“But it cannot be the default setting, and that everything else that happens happens because when there is such a glaring mismatch that you are able to go an do it.”

Wood thinks that the real disrespect is coming from Jones, towards his players, as he feels that the England squad has too much talent to simply kick the ball away all the time.

“I think it is disrespectful to the players of some of the quality that England have that they don’t have a cut [in the game plan] at all,” Wood said. “And I do believe that is part of it.”

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Autumn Nations Cup Eddie Jones England France Keith Wood Kicking Owen Farrell