Video footage has emerged of England coach Eddie Jones vowing to get revenge on the “scummy Irish” in next Saturday’s Six Nations clash at Twickenham.
Jones lost his unbeaten record as England coach at the Aviva Stadium last year, when a 13-9 Ireland win on the final day of the season ended the visitors’ Grand Slam hopes.
Now the shoe is on the other foot with England bidding to scupper Ireland’s Slam ambitions. And speaking at a conference on leadership last July, the Australian made it clear he will have revenge on his mind.
"We've only lost one Test to the scummy Irish," Jones said, at the event. "I'm still dirty about that game, but we will get that back. We will get that back, don't worry. We’ve got them next year at home, we’ll get 'em back, we’ll get 'em back.”
The former Japan coach was just as undiplomatic when recalling how an U20 Japanese side lost to Wales.
Jones apologised for his comments this evening and admitted his choice of words was inexcusable, saying he was "very sorry". The Rugby Football Union said it would apologise to the Irish and Welsh unions.
In his apology, released by the Rugby Football Union, Jones said: "I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused - no excuses and I shouldn't have said what I did. I'm very sorry."
Not only will the footage have caused acute embarrassment to the RFU, but it could also serve to motivate Ireland ahead of Saturday's St Patrick's Day showdown.
An RFU spokeswoman said:
Speaking at the event, Jones also revealed how he has enrolled England players in acting classes as part of a programme to develop their leadership skills.
“We’ve sent them away on acting classes to improve their leadership. We’ve got a great player whose knowledge is fantastic, but he can’t speak. So we’re sending him away on acting classes. Nine players, we’ve got them all on leadership plans.”