Southgate glad for 'Clough-like' Jones's insight

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 21:12
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SIX NATIONS SPOTLIGHT: England football manager Gareth Southgate said it had been "fascinating" to spend time with Eddie Jones as a rival rugby coach compared the Australian to legendary football manager Brian Clough.

The England Rugby Union team is on a national record 15-match winning streak heading into their Six Nations clash against Wales on Saturday, with 14 of those wins coming since Jones took over following the team's first-round exit on home soil at the 2015 World Cup.

Jones's men are the reigning Six Nations champions, having won last year's title with a Grand Slam.

"I think you're always looking for new ideas," Southgate told englandrugby.com on Wednesday.

"This is obviously a winning culture at the moment, so to immerse yourself in that, and see why it is happening, is really important."

The England football team have not won a major trophy since the late Bobby Moore lifted the 1966 World Cup at Wembley and last year their involvement at the European Championships in France ended with a humiliating 1-2 loss to minnows Iceland in the last 16.

Defeat marked the end of Roy Hodgson's reign as England football manager and the start of a process that led to his eventual replacement by Southgate.

Having met with Jones, former England defender Southgate said: "You go away with loads of ideas and things you want to implement. It is great to be alongside people who experience the same sort of scenarios you're in.

"There is a lot more set-play work, so the detail of individual coaching is very interesting for us because it is something we're looking at in football."

Southgate added: "Eddie is a vastly experienced coach. He has coached at international level for a long time, so to get an idea of his thoughts and observations around what we do -- for a young coach like me -- is fascinating to hear."

Meanwhile, Shaun Edwards, the defence coach of the Welsh team that will face Jones's men in Cardiff this weekend, said the England boss was "great for rugby".

Jones, deploying typically colourful language, said this week that he could not understand why England were "petrified" of playing in Cardiff, although an overall poor record in the Welsh capital is offset by the fact that honours at the Principality Stadium between the teams have been shared in the Six Nations era.

Former Australia and Japan coach Jones also said home fans could throw daffodils, the national flower of Wales, at his team on Saturday.

"It's smart coaching," said Edwards, himself an Englishman and a former Great Britain rugby league international. He is a clever bloke is Eddie. It's great for the game. You want characters in the game."

Edwards compared Jones to the late Brian Clough, a famously forthright figure who guided English club Nottingham Forest from second-tier obscurity to become champions of England and European Cup winners all in a matter of a few seasons in the late 1970s.

"You've seen it in the past with football managers like Brian Clough, people like that," said Edwards. "They were a bit outspoken, weren't they?

"It's good for the game and good for you guys [the media] as well.

"Are there daffodils around this time of year? I don't know. It feels a bit cold for daffodils!"

Agence France-Presse

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