Rugby

Opinion: Eddie Jones Should Be Ashamed Of His Embarrassing Comment About Johnny Sexton's Parents

Opinion: Eddie Jones Should Be Ashamed Of His Embarrassing Comment About Johnny Sexton's Parents

Eddie Jones is a great rugby coach. He is charming and articulate when dealing with the media and has had success all over the world.

But Eddie Jones needs to shut his mouth.

The Australian made some wreckless comments about Johnny Sexton before Ireland's loss to England that attempted to prey on the fears of the out-half's parents, and they crossed a line.

Jones' media presence is refreshing for the most part. Coaches are so stage-managed these days that you rarely hear them utter a single memorable syllable but this was different. This was too much.

In case you missed it, here is what he said:

"They've talked about him having whiplash injuries, which is not a great thing to talk about. I'm sure his mother and father would be worried about that. If you're saying that a guy has got whiplash, then he's had a severe trauma. If you've had severe trauma then you've got to worry about the welfare of the player. I'd be worried about him. We've got the best medical staff in England, we'll make the best decision. I'm sure Ireland have done the same."

Firstly, armchair doctors are annoying and sound stupid. God knows we get enough of that nonsense with George Hook. But for an opposition coach to start lobbing these sorts of grenades is out of order.

Even Warren Gatland - the master of gamesmanship - wouldn't be so cavalier about bring a player's parents into it. If you thought Jones would apologise for the remarks, which he definitely should, then you will not have enjoyed his post-game interview one bit.

Here is what he said in his press conference, according to the Irish Times:

“I don’t regret anything mate. Why would I regret it?”

“That’s [his comments] just the sideshow, it’s finished, mate, the main event’s just gone past. I’m not talking about the sideshow.”

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That sort of bullishness is disgraceful considering the nature of his pre-match comments. Eddie Jones says all his one-liners with a mischievous glint in his eye but this one is so out of touch with the spirit of the game, not to mention the attitude around player welfare, that it beggars belief.

England won the game and by the time they host Wales, Jones' comment will be forgotten.

But that's not the point. This isn't about rugby. It is a bigger issue than that and all the wins in the world can't change the fact that Jones did the game a great injustice with his underhanded comments this week.

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Will Slattery

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