Wales skipper Jones relaxed over taunts from 'Uncle Eddie'

Julian GUYER
Fly-half Rhys Patchell is set to face a stern test against champions England at Twickenham

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones jokingly said he would have a word with his 'Uncle Eddie' following the England coach's attempts to rile his side ahead of their Six Nations clash at Twickenham on Saturday.

England boss Eddie Jones, no stranger to pre-match 'mind games', criticised the Wales skipper for standing in front of Finn Russell and so preventing the Scotland fly-half from quickly converting Pete Horne's late try in Cardiff last weekend.

Although it did not affect the result, with Wales winning 34-7, points difference could play a role in deciding the destiny of this season's Six Nations.

British and Irish Lions lock Jones exchanged words with both Russell and French referee Pascal Gauzere.

Eddie Jones said on Thursday the Welshman had been "right out of order", adding he had raised the issue with World Rugby.

But the global governing body confirmed on Friday they were happy with the way Gauzere, in contact with the TV match official, had dealt with the incident.

- 'Spirit of the game' -

"I've not seen an exact transcription so I can't comment too much on the specifics but it was more important that World Rugby, when they were asked for clarification, came back and essentially said that they saw nothing untoward with what happened," Jones told reporters at Wales's team hotel on Friday.

"More importantly, Pascal at the time had no issue and no issue after the game," the British and Irish Lions lock added.

"You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. I will have a chat with 'Uncle Eddie' after the game," joked the Wales skipper.

The Wales captain was in playful mood while considering his supposed bad behaviour.

"My parents have been saying that for many years, and I am married now so it is just like being at home."

On a more serious note, the Ospreys second-row added: "I had to ask the questions because there was a game in the autumn where had we reviewed the play against Australia, a try probably wouldn't have stood."

On Thursday, Eddie Jones also questioned whether "third choice" Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell, in the side following injuries to Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland, had the "bottle" to perform in front of an 82,000-capacity Twickenham crowd after starring against the Scots.

"It is a step up, no-one would deny that, playing away against England at Twickenham, but Patch is ready for that and he is focused on the job in hand," said Alun Wyn Jones.

Earlier, England scrum coach Neal Hatley defended his boss's comments regarding the Wales captain by telling a Twickenham news conference that they had been "within our rights" to raise issues with World Rugby.

"They have come back with clarification that the referee was in constant communication with the TMO and so it is not an issue."

- 'Consistency' -

Hatley added: "It is common place to highlight individual players and Rhys Patchell and Alun Wyn Jones are key players for them.

"It's been happening for ages in Test rugby."

England launched their bid for an unprecedented third successive Six Nations title with a 46-15 win over Italy in Rome last weekend.

One of three survivors from the Wales team that beat England at Twickenham during the 2015 World Cup, Alun Wyn Jone said there was no doubting the Red Rose had bloomed under Eddie Jones. "I think it's the consistency. particularly under Eddie. They’ve got a strong 15, a strong 23-24, but we'll have to face them off."