Rugby World Cup 2019: Eddie Jones accuses New Zealand media of being ‘fans with keyboards’ for All Blacks support

England boss humiliated a Kiwi journalist by taking a swipe at them for their pro-All Blacks bias ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semi-finals

Jack de Menezes
Tokyo
@JackdeMenezes
Tuesday 22 October 2019 16:30
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Eddie Jones reveals England were spied on in training

Eddie Jones took a swipe at the New Zealand media on Tuesday by labelling them “fans with a keyboard” due to their vocal support of the All Blacks.

Jones came out swinging ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final against Steve Hansen’s side in what was a surprise press conference appearance in an effort to ramp up the pressure on the reigning world champions.

The support for the All Blacks from the country’s mainstream media was made particularly clear during the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour, when the New Zealand Herald ran a heavily-criticised front page with coach Warren Gatland mocked up as a clown ahead of the second Test, which the Lions went on to win.

And asked whether he was worried about the All Blacks reading about allegations made by Jones of someone watching their training session, the England boss did not hold back.

“Well someone has to ask them a question because the New Zealand media doesn’t,” said Jones. “You guys are just fans with a keyboard, someone has to ask them some questions.

“The English media – a week ago I was going to get sacked, [they were saying] ‘we couldn’t play’. We deal with a completely different situation.”

Jones also used the appearance to claim that all the pressure for Saturday’s semi-final had been piled up on the All Blacks, given that they are seen as the best team in the world with the biggest support and the have the chance to make three-peat history on the line following their 2011 and 2015 triumphs.

“We don't have any pressure,” he added. “Put up your hand if you think we can win. There you go, no one. No one thinks we can win.

“There are 120m Japanese people out there whose second team are the All Blacks. So there's no pressure on us, we've just got to have a great week, enjoy it, relax, train hard and enjoy this great opportunity we've got, whereas they've got to be thinking about how they're looking for their third World Cup and so that brings some pressure.”

The 59-year-old also returned to the subject of facing the sack had they lost their quarter-final against Australia last weekend, given the Rugby Football Union’s minimum expectation of reaching the semi-final stage – though his claim that the English press claimed that there will be “blood on the walls of Twickenham” appeared somewhat misguided given that the phrase could not be found on the internet.

“I couldn’t see too many hands go up,” he said. “Your first reaction is always your most honest reaction, and if you don’t put your hand up straight away you don’t believe it. And you don’t.

“You look, one week ago, I was going to get sacked, Owen [Farrell] couldn’t kick, someone wrote there’d be blood on the walls of Twickenham. Now we are in a semi-final and have a chance of going through, and we are just excited about it.”

Eddie Jones labelled the New Zealand media 'fans with keyboards'

Hansen was unable to respond to Jones’s comments given that his press conference took place before the Australian’s, though he did seem to see what was coming.

“Mind games are a real thing, but sometimes you’re better not to bother going there and sometimes you are,” the New Zealand coach said. “Eddie will decide whether he wants to go there and I’ve already decided what I want to do.

“You’ll have to wait and see, I guess. There’s still a couple more days to go. There’s no point is there? He’s a smart man. He knows me and I know him.”

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