Eddie Jones says England will have to be ready for a 'confrontational' France side who want to engage in 'hand-to-hand combat' when they play in Paris on March 10
Eddie Jones says England need to be wary of a “confrontational” France side when the two teams clash in Paris on March 10.
England will head into the match at the Stade de France hoping to bounce back from their 25-13 defeat against Scotland at Murrayfield last weekend.
Jones believes France – who beat Italy to claim their first win of the championship – are improving under their new coach Jacques Brunel, and will pose England a threat in round four of the Six Nations.
“Under Brunel they [France] are showing certain characteristics,” Jones said. “They’ve got a massive forward pack and Mathieu Bastareaud in the backs – they have an exciting back three.
“It’s going to be confrontational, it’s going to be physical. They’re going to want to play the game with hand-to-hand combat. We’re going to have to play smart against them.”
When asked how he would feel if he was a French fan, Jones added: “I’d be optimistic that they’re going to turn the corner. But we’re going to make sure the corner waits for a while!”
England’s defeat on Saturday was just their second in Jones’ time in charge, and their first against Scotland in ten years.
Asked how England have began to move on from the loss, Jones said: “We’ve identified key things we need to fix and we’ve already started working on those in our small groups.
“Our next development as a team is being able to fix things quicker on the field. That’s very hard to do but we’re definitely moving in the right direction.”
Jones also brushed off the incident in the tunnel, seemingly involving Owen Farrell and Ryan Wilson, that occurred before kick-off at Murrayfield.
Six Nations Rugby have confirmed they will be taking no action regarding the fracas, and Jones said: “I’ve spoken to Owen and he was just looking after one of his mates. That’s how we want this team to operate.”