Eddie Jones has called for England to show steely composure when they face a Wales team willing to “rip off heads” in Cardiff on Saturday.
Jones has braced his Six Nations favourites for a ferocious onslaught from Warren Gatland’s men – the Championship’s only other Grand Slam-chasing side – that will be driven by emotion.
Earlier in the week, Wales watched a one-man play on the life of their celebrated late Lions centre Ray Gravell that was staged in the changing room at the Principality Stadium that will be used by England.
Defence coach Robin McBryde declared “there will only be one result” if inspiration is drawn from a show shrouded in poignancy, and Jones used a boxing analogy to outline how his players must respond.
“It’s one of those games where we want to have plenty of aggression and toughness but we need calm heads,” said Jones.
“We need to be able to channel it in the right direction. So we need to be able to play tough, think smart.
“Wales are going to be full of emotions. They’ve been saying they’re ready to rip off heads. The senior players are holding them back.
“They watched a play about Ray Gravell – I remember watching him play, he’s a good player hey? A really good player.
“So they’re full of emotions and they’ll bring that to the field and we know Wales teams at home want to come out hard.
“Our job is to be like that heavyweight boxer that comes in there, knows exactly what he’s going to do, waits for the opportunity for the knockout and then takes it.
“Just be calm, but at the same time tough and have a real steel about us. That’s what I want to see. I know we’re going to get it, I know we’re going to get it. I can see it in the players’ eyes now.”
Jones was in typically mischievous mood as he vowed to ruin Gatland’s farewell party after claiming Wales could crumble beneath expectation.
It is Gatland’s final Six Nations match against England before stepping down after the World Cup and the Kiwi is among the contenders to replace Jones when he departs, potentially also after Japan 2019.
Wales are looking to secure a 12th successive victory that would set a new national record and Jones repeated his claim they are the greatest Welsh team in history, although he has never lost to Gatland in three previous meetings.
“As we know, the week’s all been about Wales. The Dragons are flying so it should be interesting,” added Jones.
“They’re up for winning 12 games in a row. It’s Warren’s last game as well before he takes over somewhere else. We are excited to be a part of that and want to spoil the party.
“Wales’ players are full of emotion and it’s the biggest game they are going to play in their lives.
“It’s a big week for them and there’s a lot of expectation. That expectation can either be some wind in their sails or it can be a ball and chain. We’ll find out on Saturday.”
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