Joe Schmidt Laughs Off Eddie Jones’ Comments Aimed At Johnny Sexton
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Eddie Jones has been up to his usually tricks in recent weeks ahead of England’s huge Six Nations opener with Ireland next month.
The Australian has taken a particular interest in Johnny Sexton, the 2018 World Player of the Year, as he looks to get inside the head of Ireland’s key man.
Jones and Schmidt bumped into each other yesterday at the Six Nations launch, and the England boss took full advantage as he tried to get in the Ireland head coach’s head.
“Eddie walked past me earlier and said ‘let’s get ready for a few grenades’,” said Schmidt.
“He told me he was going to keep them coming!
“He’s incredibly hard to read, because you don’t know if he means what he’s saying or if he’s joking.
“I think it keeps it fresh, it keeps it entertaining. It does make me think ‘is he serious about that?’.
“Is Jack Nowell going to play seven? Is (Mark) Wilson going to play there, or (Tom) Curry? It does keep the opposition guessing.
“We are training in Portugal at the moment just 15 minutes away from England — and Eddie said he might whip across and have a look. And because that’s topical at the moment, he just throws that into the conversation.
“I enjoy the banter with Eddie. He’s a smart coach.”
And in terms of Jones’ comments about Sexton and his ‘special bat phone’ relationship with referees – Schmidt just laughed them off.
“Yeah, look I want to get hold of it [bat phone] if I can. I’d like a direct dial myself.” Schmidt laughed
“I don’t know that Commissioner Gordon is in the building when matches are being played.
“With Johnny, I’m not sure Owen is that different, or Dan Biggar either. They are demanding of themselves, their co-players and officials.
“Because they are incredibly competitive they will ask questions. They are also really intelligent players. They know the rules of the game.
“Johnny doesn’t have as much to say for us because he’s not skipper. Rory (Best) would be the guy who is more face-to-face conversations than bat phones — but I think he manages that well as captain.”