Former England star Danny Cipriani has likened Eddie Jones to “a horny teenager” in his autobiography, and claims the Wallabies head coach pushed him to reveal deatils about his sex life.
Extracts from the book are being published in The Times.
The former Melbourne Rebels player Cipriani writes about an incident when Jones called him up for a tour of Australia in 2016.
“We’re all out for dinner on day one, I’m sitting at the end of the table and Eddie comes and sits next to me,” Cipriani said.. “The first words out of his mouth are, ‘Mate, doesn’t [TV presenter] Kirsty Gallacher live around here? … What’s she like?’
“I’ve just split up with Kirsty, after a short relationship, and it’s not something I want to talk to my head coach about, or anyone else for that matter. Eddie keeps pecking, like a horny teenager, and in the end I tell him straight, ‘Eddie, I don’t want to talk about this, it’s making me uncomfortable’.
“Surprise, surprise, I’m not in the squad for the summer international against Wales. He’s picked a part-time No.10 ahead of me. I can’t help thinking Eddie only picked me for that training camp as a joke.”
The extracts come after Cipriani last week hammered Jones on social media for blaming the Rugby Football Union for the current state of the national team, instead of taking some blame himself.
“Everyone looks at the head coach, and (says) ‘Let’s blame the head coach’. But the onus on producing quality players is on the RFU. And that hasn’t happened,” Jones told the BBC.
“‘You’ve got to look at why you’re not bringing talent through. Then you’ve got to look at why your talent development systems are not doing that.”
Cipriani accused Jones of “belittling employees, running through staff, having a limited understanding of the game and getting hired because the RFU don’t know what they are looking for hence why they employed Eddie. ‘RFU have a huge role to play but Eddie passing the buck is not news.”
Cipriani also seemingly had little time for Stuart Lancaster and was scathing of his preparations for the World Cup in 2015, suggesting Sam Burgess also believed players were being “treated like kids” by coaches.
“And look at what happened at the 2011 World Cup: England were an absolute disaster,” he wrote. “Lanny was given the job far too early and wasn’t really in charge anyway. I never had a chance, what with how they wanted to play and the influence of Andy and Owen [Farrell].”
Aussie-born Ireland star Mack Hansen has given an insight into a speech by the team’s coach Andy Farrell that the ex-Brumby says is the best he’s ever heard.
“Before our second Test against New Zealand last year, he [Farrell] gave the best pre-game speech I’ve ever heard,” Hansen told the Daily Mail.
“It was like something out of a movie. We’d been pumped in the first Test and he walked in and gave this spiel. There was no looking around at your feet, you’re literally dead-eyed on him the whole time. He was like, ‘These f–kers don’t even know your f–king name, make sure by the end of this night they know who the f–k you are’.
“It’s actually true because when you play New Zealand, you feel like you know who they are but I reckon none of them would know who you are. Just, no one ever says it. Andy wasn’t afraid to say it. We were thinking, ‘f–k yeah, let’s go’. And we went out and won.”
The 23-12 victory was Ireland’s first-ever win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil, and they went on to win the series.
“In the third test the next week he said, “Alright lads, they know your name now but they still don’t know who you are,’ Hansen added.
“‘They don’t respect you’. Stuff like that, he doesn’t let you sleep on it, constantly at you. He could’ve come in and said, ‘Lads, you’re good enough, you’ve shown you’re good enough to do this’, but that’s not going to get you going, is it?
“We’d just be like, ‘Right-o’. It was a case of telling us that we haven’t proved anything. The way he approaches stuff like that, he has a real killer’s mentality. That was the first time I’ve run out to a game thinking I’d do anything for someone. I’d love to know if he writes this stuff down, or if he just says what comes into his head.’”
All Blacks assistant coach Jason Ryan has urged RWC officials to stick with rugby’s essence and not turn the tournament into a soccer competition.
Asked about the ABs’ yellow card issues in their record loss to the Springboks, Ryan told reporters: “Rugby is such a competitive game. There’s going to be small margins for when collisions go wrong but as long as it’s not the Fifa World Cup. This is the Rugby World Cup and it’s a spectacle the game needs.
“We have to adapt and get our height right around the collisions and make sure our carry and clean are really strong. We must have a dominant mindset but be clean where we can so we don’t give any easy outs. That will be the same for both teams.”
The All Blacks start their campaign against France on Saturday and will be missing starting tighthead Tyrel Lomax, veteran Brodie Retallick and flanker Shannon Frizell.
The hosts are likewise injury affected, with loosehead prop Cyril Baille and lock Paul Willemse gone from their pack for the tournament.
“They’re a big pack. They’ve got big ball carriers all around their whole eight and off the bench,”said Ryan. “They’ve got good, genuine lineout options. They’re really athletic. They use their formations really well so we’ve got to be at our best.”
Ireland are ranked No.1 in the world and picked by many to challenge France as a potential first-time RWC winner.
But one of their former players isn’t convinced.
Speaking to AFP, former Ireland and Lions fullback Hugo MacNeill said that he feared the team was still short of the standard required to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.
“Ireland have got tries from the driving line-out, the long pass and pressure paying off. However, you do not see the sort of phase-after-phase style of play,” said MacNeill.
“Bundee Aki seems a nice guy and a great team man but I do not think the passing game is as fluent as it needs to be…
“There is a massive dependency on Johnny Sexton in terms of leadership. It was very evident when he was not playing in the final that no one stepped forward. Ireland need players like James Ryan and Caelan Doris to be leaders. If Ireland are to be genuine contenders they need leaders to emerge and to develop an expansive backline game.
“They are not going to trouble the Springboks in the lineouts nor the driving maul. They need to spread the ball around. I think the draw is very tough, especially when a key part of Ireland’s fortunes hang on keeping Sexton fit.
“Being in a very tough side of the draw he has to play in the big games and if he is injured it will impact on Ireland’s chances…
“Ireland are not at the level of winning the World Cup yet. We need to get to that level because we do not want to go out in the quarter-finals again.”
Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe said the defending champions’ opening Rugby World Cup clash with Scotland “will be a final for us”.
South Africa start their Pool B campaign against the Scots in Marseille on Sunday, 10 September. They then face top-ranked Ireland, Tonga and Romania in the group stage.
“The match against Scotland will be a final for us because we are in a difficult pool,” Cheslin Kolbe told AFP on Sunday.
“We will focus on our preparation for this important match.
“We are defending champions but that was four years ago. To reproduce that requires a lot of sacrifice, hard work and cohesion. We want to make our country proud of us and create memories.”
Coach Jacques Nienaber, meanwhile, said that the heat and humidity of Corsica have helped preparations for their opener against Scotland.
“The players are used to the heat and humidity after training in these conditions in Corsica,” Nienaber said in an SA Rugby statement after the squad arrived in Toulon to continue their build-up.
He added: “Scotland are ranked fifth in the world, and we know what they are capable of, so it is vital that we hit the ground running from our first training session.”
The Springboks arrived in Toulon after a ferry trip from the Mediterranean island of Corsica, where they spent one week after decisive victories in their final warm-up matches.
South Africa trounced Wales 52-16 in Cardiff, then scored a 35-7 victory over New Zealand at Twickenham, a record winning margin in 105 Tests against their greatest rivals.
New Zealand and South Africa have won the World Cup three times each.
Nienaber added later on Sunday that he pays no attention to his team’s tag as favourites to clinch a fourth World Cup.
“It has no influence on us. Whether we are favourites or not will not make us better than Scotland,” he said.
“I understand the concept and it is history but only our preparation will have an impact on this game.”