Jones plays down new bonus-point system

Date published: January 8 2017

The introduction of bonus points in the Six Nations will make no impact on the way teams play, says England coach Eddie Jones.

“Teams were frightened of losing in the opening two rounds of the Six Nations last year,” Jones told the Guardian.

“They played well within themselves and did not want to take any risks, but the quality was much better on the final two weekends. We want to change that. The last time England played well in the first round was against Wales in 2006. Before that you go back to the great side of 2001-03. Otherwise, England have stumbled and got a close victory.

“I want us to go out there and set a benchmark in the first game. The Six Nations is a unique competition because of the intensity of the rivalry. If we can get the rugby to a great level, it will become the greatest tournament in the world. I don’t think bonus points [which are being trialled in this year’s tournament] will have any influence. I have coached for 20 years and it has not had one iota of influence on how I have gone about things. If you play good rugby, you secure a bonus point; if you don’t, you don’t.”

The style of play among Premiership teams also doesn’t faze Jones.

“I don’t care how clubs play, that is their business,” he said. “It is all about the skill level of the players: someone who is skilful can play any way he wants. I don’t control that so there’s no use me worrying about it.

“I don’t look at the styles and say: ‘That’s a good style, that’s a bad style, that will help us develop players, that won’t’. It’s inconsequential. We’ve got the time with the players that we have and we’ve got to make them as good as we can.”