by Rachel King
Eddie Jones called in expertise from some unconventional sources yesterday when England football manager Gareth Southgate visited Jones’s team in training at Pennyhill Park.
Southgate was sharing some wisdom with England’s rugby coaching staff after the team scraped a 19 – 16 win against France in the first round of the Six Nations. Head coach of the Australian netball team Lisa Alexander also attended the training session. Alexander had previously guided her squad to be world and commonwealth champions in 2014.
“We’ve had a brilliant learning day today with Gareth and Lisa,” said Jones. “As we’ve always stated our aim is to get better every day and we want to get people into camp who have knowledge and great experience to learn from them. The staff shared a very interactive hour with them at a lunchtime meeting where we learnt a lot.”
Known for taking a holistic approach in his quest for perfection, Jones has ridden with the Orica Bike Exchange in the Tour de France and spent time watching Bayern Munich train under Pep Guardiola. He’s also previously sought advice from the England cricket and women’s hockey coaches, and just last month invited Danny Mills of England’s 2002 football World Cup squad and FA performance chief Dave Reddin to a discussion about attaining success in Japan in 2019.
Jones will be looking to revive his squad quickly from their uninspiring performance at the weekend so they are ready to play Wales in Cardiff on Saturday. Adding to his worries will be flanker Tom Wood’s shoulder injury, with Jack Clifford of Harlequins next in line to start. Nathan Hughes also missed training, with his workload being managed.
England have won their last three Six Nations Tests against Wales but in 2013 suffered a record 30 – 3 defeat. This weekend they are looking to extend their run of consecutive unbeaten matches to 16 – just two shy of New Zealand’s 18-match record.
England play Wales in the second round of the Six Nations at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday. Kick-off is at 4.50pm.