Arnold Schwarzenegger’s inspirational quote which used to adorn the walls of England’s changing room at their Pennyhill Park centre has been erased as Eddie Jones heralds in a new era declaring: “we are starting afresh”.
Jones has stopped short of terminating the building blocks put in place by Stuart Lancaster at England’s high performance centre in Bagshot but says England must make the most of their facilities if they are to live up to his challenge of establishing them as the most dominant side in the world.
He has encouraged this crop of players to make their own mark on England’s training centre but they will not have Schwarzenegger’s inspirational quote — “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength” — for total recall after it was deemed expendable.
“Who? Is he up there is he? I didn’t see that, so it must have gone,” Jones answered when asked if he had changed anything at Pennyhill Park, including Schwarzenegger’s quote. “I’m not a big fan of his movies, so he definitely won’t be there.
“We’re starting afresh. In a lot of ways we’ve put a new coat of paint on the place. The players stay at the hotel, and the hotel is a nice five-star hotel. That’s where they relax. But once they step into the training centre it’s about business. So we want the players to be involved in setting up the training centre.
“They already have little projects to get on with and how they want the training centre to be, because it’s their place of work. The framework is there because it’s an outstanding facility. It’s world class and we have to make sure the players maximise their time there.”
After England’s exit from the World Cup it was seen as the end of days for rugby as the hosts crashed out of the tournament at the first hurdle. It proved to be Lancaster’s land stand. But Jones says they only need to improve by three to five per cent if they are to challenge the world’s best.
The focus is on the set piece and technique — not pumping iron — where England have been tasked with improving their predatory instincts and Jones hopes these will be realised within six to eight weeks.
Jones has just seven training sessions with his England side prior to the match but he has not complained of it being a raw deal. He has gone for an experienced 23 for the trip north, rather than fast-tracking the juniors, and said Scotland are the favourites.
Hasta la vista? Eddie Jones is not a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images
“It’s a Calcutta Cup game. Scotland are the form side of Europe,” Jones said. “They’re playing at home. We know it will be a tough game up there, so we’ve got to pick a tough side to play up there. Then I’ll worry about the games after that.
“We’re picking 23 to do battle at Murrayfield, in front of 65,000 Scottish people who will be going crazy and that’s pressure. We need players with the skills to be able to cope with that.”
Jones has vowed England will play their own way, ignoring outside influences, but is fully aware the pressure will be on from the outset of the championship; it won’t be a case of jingle all the way. It is a new era for England, he has ensured the risk of collateral damage from the World Cup is kept to a minimum, but the length of Jones’ honeymoon period is dependent on how they fare against Scotland on the sixth day of February.
“When you first get married, you go on honeymoon, but honeymoon is not like real life,” Jones said. “Anyone who is married knows that. Married life is tough. You have to take, you have to give and make compromises.
“You have to work out a way to make things happen. When I stand up in the team room for the first time, everyone is nodding and saying ‘yes, yes’. Of course they are. But I know that’s not the real situation. I know we’ll have our differences. We’ll work it out and find out a way to make the team successful. It’s a nice honeymoon at the moment.”
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Hasta la vista – Jones rids Schwarzenegger quote
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