EDDIE JONES SAYS Grand Slam-chasing Wales “look a bit tired” as he hopes for an Ireland win in Cardiff on Saturday that would help his England team to the Six Nations title if they beat Scotland.
Jones is hoping for a favour from Joe Schmidt’s Ireland. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO
Warren Gatland’s Wales can secure a clean sweep of the championship in the 2.45pm kick-off against Ireland on Saturday, but Jones remains hopeful that Joe Schmidt’s team can notch the win that would leave England in position to win the Six Nations.
Jones’ men host Scotland in the final game of the championship in Twickenham at 5pm on Saturday.
Given England’s vastly superior points difference to Ireland coming into the weekend, a win of any kind over Scotland and an Irish win in Cardiff would almost certainly hand Jones’ men the title, even if Ireland secured a bonus point against Wales.
Ireland could still win the Six Nations, of course, although they would need Scotland to upset the English for that to occur, as well as beating the Welsh themselves.
“I think it’s a fascinating close to the tournament,” said Jones after confirming four changes to his team to play Scotland.
“You’ve got three teams who can win it. Wales are a very good team, very well coached.
“Great credit to them for what they’ve done but they are starting to look a bit tired. They’ve made more tackles than anyone else in the tournament and they’re playing an Ireland side that seems to be peaking at the right time.
“You look at guys like Conor Murray, [Johnny] Sexton, [Garry] Ringrose, [Peter] O’Mahony – guys that weren’t in great form at the start of the tournament are now starting to come to their fore.
“So I’m sure the crowd’s going to help Wales overcome that tiredness but it’s going to be a great game.”
While the tackle statistics for the Six Nations don’t back up Jones’ assertion that Wales have made more tackles than anyone else – England and Scotland have both made more – it is little surprise to see him casting some doubt on Wales’ Grand Slam bid.
A fascinating final day of the Six Nations awaits.
Subscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here: