Eddie Jones admits the demons of England’s harrowing collapse in Cardiff four years ago will always linger, but is convinced they will remain dormant on Saturday.
Wales were crowned 2013 champions after a 30-3 rout at the Principality Stadium denied Stuart Lancaster’s men a Grand Slam on a traumatising final day of the RBS 6 Nations for the English.
Two years later the defeat was avenged but with 10 survivors present when the rivalry is renewed on Saturday, Jones has discussed the ordeal with his squad and even Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie.
“There’s always shadows in the corners. They’re always there and can always come out,” Jones said “We’ve spoken about those shadows this week, but I think the team has moved on.
“Teams go through maturity cycles and to have one of those experiences is a life-changing experience and you never want to go back there. “I was speaking to Ian Ritchie before. He came and watched training. He was there in 2013.
“You don’t like that feeling and therefore you learn to control your emotions to not allow to get involved in that again. I think those players have learned a lot from that.”
Immediately after France had been dispatched 19-16 in an unconvincing start to the title defence, Jones queried why England teams have been “petrified” of visiting Cardiff in the past, citing their 60 per cent defeat record there as evidence.
While the Australian is braced for mischief-making in the Welsh capital, he insists his Grand Slam champions are enthused rather than fearful of the challenge that awaits.
“We’re prepared to win and we’re prepared for any shenanigans that might go on – and we’re looking forward to it,” Jones said. “They’re a cunning lot the Welsh aren’t they? They always have been. They’ve got goats, they’ve got daffodils, they’ve got everything. Who knows?
“We’re bloody excited about playing there to be honest. It’s a great opportunity. We were disappointed about how we played against France and it’s an opportunity to play in one of the great stadiums of the world.”
England will face Wales at a hostile Principality Stadium with a rookie back row that sees Jack Clifford replace Tom Wood. Clifford has recovered from a chest injury to make his first international appearance since last summer’s tour to Australia and is chosen ahead of the vastly more experienced Wood, who is demoted to the bench.
In the only other change to the starting XV that dispatched France, Jack Nowell is picked on the right wing in a move that sees Jonny May also relegated to a spot among the replacements.
The biggest talking point is in the back row, however, with England facing a Welsh trio of Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty – who have 130 Test appearances between them – with Clifford, Maro Itoje and Nathan Hughes. Wood, who has recovered from a shoulder injury, has 46 caps while Clifford, Itoje and Hughes have only four back row starts between them.
“We think Jack is ready to play, ready to start. He will give us a little more pace in the back row. It’s a good opportunity for him,” Jones said. “This is the best back row we have for this game. Nathan Hughes has been playing well for us, doing we’ll against Australia and France.
“Itoje is a young guy learning the ropes and Clifford is a young guy learning the ropes and what a great place to learn them – the Principality Stadium.”
Nowell made a significant impact when arriving as a second-half replacement against France with a robust carry helping to set up the decisive try for Ben Te’o.
“Nowell brings a bit more work rate. Wales traditionally like to play ball in play, have high ball in play and Jack Nowell’s great attribute is his ability to carry through contact,” Jones said.
“They’re not a side you get around because of the way they defend, so you have to go through them. His running skills will suit us better this week that Jonny’s. But Jonny and Tom Wood will have key roles to play for us as finishers. They’ll have a role to play on our game.”
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18652929/jones-convinced-england-moved-2013-rout-wales
Jones convinced England have moved on from 2013 rout by Wales
www.espn.co.uk – RUGBY