Eddie Jones and England happy to hunker down on the coast at Miyazaki – The Guardian

Posted: October 12, 2019 at 10:43 am

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An ill wind may be blowing for some but for Eddie Jones and England life is suddenly unexpectedly calm. Almost before World Rugby had confirmed the cancellation of their final pool game against France they were away to the airport and heading south to Miyazaki, safely out of the path of the onrushing typhoon and back to the same beachfront training base where they spent the tournaments opening days.

Given England were up and out of their central Tokyo hotel in less time than it takes to say this suits us fine mate, it was an interesting moment for the tournament organisers to be flagging up the logistical difficulties of moving rugby teams around Japan. Jones, looking as upbeat as he has done since arriving, appears rather less than broken-hearted to be fleeing the typhoon zone and sidestepping the France game.

His good humour may also have had something to do with the latest headlines out of Australia, poised to be Englands quarter-final opponents next week if the remaining pool results unfold as anticipated. It has emerged that the Canberra Raiders rugby league coach and former Kangaroos halfback Ricky Stuart will be in Englands camp before the Oita game an invitation which will not amuse the Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika, also a friend of Stuarts.

Jones has previous form in this area having invited Andrew Joey Johns along to training during Englands tour of Australia in 2016. Only last week Stuart was coaching the Raiders in the National Rugby League grand final against the Sydney Roosters and his knowledge of knockout rugby is sure to be among the areas of mutual discussion during a fact-finding mission which was apparently teed up a couple of months ago.

Englands players, either way, now have no preparation worries having been given some helpful extra leeway by the cancellation. With Billy Vunipola, Jack Nowell and Joe Marler all hoping to be back in quarterfinal contention, Jones clearly views this free weekend as a handy bonus and, unlike all those unfortunate supporters who have flown to Japan to find their match tickets redundant, he is not weeping into his beer.

It is a great opportunity for us to regenerate, refocus and put a bit more petrol in the tank, so were really happy with it, Jones said. We had an idea before we came that it could happen and therefore, in case it does, you have to accumulate points in your games to put yourself in the right position. Weve been talking about it all the time, about the possibility this was going to happen.

In other words, Jones is shedding no tears for those teams whose qualification chances have been or could be wrecked by the weather. Aside from an ill-judged quip about unforeseen travel chaos he would have been much better avoiding its typhoon season; you go somewhere else and its terrorist season the former Japan coach also has personal experience of how damaging typhoons can be when they strike Japanese cities.

Ive probably been here for about 30 typhoons, he said. Some of them are just like a big thunderstorm but I can remember driving in one in Tokyo in 1996. A sign from a 7-11 convenience store flew off and landed just in front of the car. At one stage I was looking pretty dodgy if it had kept coming. I can still remember it clearly.

For that reason he insists the organisers had little choice but to call off the France game on safety grounds. Theres a reason why everything shuts down when typhoons come because it can be particularly dangerous. This ones supposed to be a big typhoon, so I dont see any other option that the organisers had. We think its the right decision.

Yes, but what about the potential damage to the integrity of the competition? That is the way the laws are. All I can be happy with is my situation, I cant compare [it] to someone elses situation.

As Tokyo braces itself for potentially its biggest storm of the year, Jones also believes the weather should not be allowed to obscure all the positives of staging the World Cup in Asia for the first time. We are in the midst of a great tournament and we shouldnt let this cast a shadow over it, he said.

If you never try anything new, you never know anything new. We need rugby to grow and youve seen the growth in Japanese rugby here. We have got another major player in world rugby and it wouldnt happen unless you had the World Cup here.

It will take more than an ominous looking weather forecast to persuade Jones this tournament should have been staged elsewhere.

Excerpt from:
Eddie Jones and England happy to hunker down on the coast at Miyazaki - The Guardian

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October 12th, 2019 at 10:43 am

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