Eddie Jones: Ex-England boss makes Calcutta Cup prediction and gives his take on Finn Russell-Gregor Townsend relationship
Former England head coach Eddie Jones insists stopping Scotland fly-half Finn Russell is key to his former side in their Six Nations opener on Saturday.
The Scots have had a solid grip on the Calcutta Cup over the past couple of years, with Jones finding the Auld Enemy to be his kryptonite on the Test scene.
Now the coach of the Wallabies, Jones has been discussing this weekend’s fixture at Twickenham on his new podcast ‘EDDIE’, and his focus was on Russell.
Jones backs narrow England win
Jones has predicted a three-point winning margin for England but also talked about the hot and cold relationship between Russell and boss Gregor Townsend.
“Gregor Townsend was an older version of Finn Russell, and that’s probably why him and Finn Russell don’t get on,” Australia coach Jones told the podcast.
“He sees Finn Russell in the mirror – doesn’t want to listen to the coach, wants to do it his own way, ‘what does he know, just let me play because I want to play’. They butt heads.
“If Finn Russell plays, he gives Scotland an outstanding chance to win. It also means that if England get on top, Scotland will probably get hammered because he will keep taking risks under pressure and will give England more opportunities to score.”
Scotland‘s fine form in the Calcutta Cup is amplified by the fact they haven’t lost at Twickenham since 2017 when Vern Cotter was in charge, as Jones recalled.
“Vern Cotter, who was the previous Scotland coach, did a great job. He did some work with Owen Eastwood, who wrote the book ‘Belonging’,” the Australian said.
“If you haven’t read it, it’s a great read about the influence of the history of a country on the way that you play your sport. Also, about the importance of belonging to any sort of community.
“I remember Vern used Owen, and they together did this fantastic video of Scotland the Brave, fighting everyone, fighting the English.
“Because they’re a smaller country, they’ve always thrived on creating chaos, and so that’s reflected in their rugby. They want to break the game up. The English want to be organised.
Scotland want chaotic rugby
“And so you’ve got this contrast between the structure and organisation and power of England and the unstructured, chaotic nature of Scottish rugby.
“Can England keep the structure? England will get opportunities to attack, and then they’ve got to be good enough to take them. Or can Scotland break the game up?
“You’ve got this beautiful contrast in philosophy in how you do things. They are two very good coaches – Steve is methodical, Gregor more wants to do different things, wants to play the game differently.
“The referee will have a major bearing, how he referees the breakdown. Scotland will go hard at the breakdown and will have identified that as a weakness of England’s, in particular with Tom Curry out. That may present an opportunity.”
READ MORE: England v Scotland: Six Nations preview as new era under Steve Borthwick to begin with narrow victory