Eddie Jones does not believe his disparaging comments about Ireland will give extra motivation to Joe Schmidt’s side as they seek to complete a Six Nations Grand Slam at Twickenham this weekend.
Jones apologised “unreservedly” on Wednesday after the emergence of footage – filmed at an event last year – in which he could be heard to call the Irish “scummy” and Wales “a little s*** place”.
Ireland have already been crowned Six Nations champions and will win a second Grand Slam this weekend if they beat an England side reeling from successive defeats at the hands of Scotland and France.
At a news conference on Thursday, Jones stated: “I’d just like to say I’ve apologised for the remarks. I sincerely mean that and I really don’t have anything else to say on the matter, so I am happy to obviously answer questions on a fantastic game that’s coming up but I think the other matter is dead.
“The only thing I’m worried about at the moment is the game.
“Ireland are preparing for a Grand Slam – they don’t need any extra motivation.”
England will be boosted by the return of captain Dylan Hartley on Saturday after the hooker recovered from a calf problem.
“It’s good to have Dylan back from injury. He trained superbly yesterday,” added Jones.
“He brings energy, he brings enthusiasm, he’s a tough guy and he’s a good captain. That’s what he’ll bring to the team on Saturday.”
Guess who’s back…
Dylan returns to captain England against Ireland at Twickenham pic.twitter.com/7oIsuO3xOv
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) March 15, 2018
Hartley’s return in place of Jamie George is one of seven alterations to England’s starting XV, with George Ford and Danny Care dropping to the bench in the most notable changes.
Saracens team-mates Owen Farrell and Richard Wigglesworth will start in the halves, the former switching from inside centre to number 10.
“We just think, for this game, those two can get us on the front foot against Ireland,” Jones explained. “We have to play a certain sort of way against Ireland. They’ve got a very distinct style of play and we feel those two are going to get us on the front foot.
“Danny [Care] needs some quick ball, he plays off the back of quick ball. We think Wigglesworth can create some quick ball for us.”
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