Eddie Jones has stoked the fires ahead of England’s Six Nations opener against Ireland by claiming Jonny Sexton has “the bat phone to the referee”.
Jones has never needed an invitation to start the mind games and it is not the first time the England head coach has had something to say about the World Rugby Player of the Year.
The Australian previously stated that Sexton’s parents must be worried about his long-term health due to head injuries he had sustained back in 2016.
Jones has now suggested the playmaker has too much of an influence on officials as England prepare to start their campaign against defending champions Ireland in Dublin on February 2.
“Sexton is a reasonably big player who has the bat phone to the referee,” said Jones.
“He is the only one allowed to pick up the red phone to talk to the referee.
“When he talks, the referee listens. That is because of his status in the game – you earn that, like Richie McCaw did.”
“They’re the best side in the world.”
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) January 17, 2019
Jones also revealed he used to deploy people to watch opponents train after Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa admitted he has sent staff members to look at all of their Championship rivals in a ‘Spygate’ saga.
“Fifteen years ago we used to send people out in costumes to watch training,” Jones said.
“I can remember sending a coach, who is now in a very senior position, in a costume to go and watch one team play and he got chased out of there. He was dressed up like a swagman, wearing one of those hats with corks.
“Now you don’t need to do that because you see everything in the game. I have been coaching for 20 years and it has always been going on. If you want to do that you can do it.
“I can say with a hand on my heart we don’t do it any more. We just don’t see the value of it because we can glean most of the stuff from the games.”
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