Eddie Jones adds to the gaiety of nations and the combative England coach was at it almost as soon as the curtain came down on Italy, getting his retaliation in good and early.
He warned that the Scots would have to back up their “big talk” although it appeared to consist almost exclusively of Scots saying how difficult it is to win in Twickenham. “I think he was referring to John [Barclay’s] comments after the game and that’s the beauty of sport,” Scotland’s Matt Taylor, pictured, replied when asked about his fellow Australian. “Anyone can beat anyone and we’ve seen in the last year or two the underdog has beaten the top team in many cases. We’re going to have to prepare well and execute well but there is no reason why we can’t win.
“We are really enjoying our rugby, enjoying the group. We are going to go down there and I don’t think many people will be expecting us to win but we know in ourselves, we are confident in our ability.”
It may not quite come classified as “big talk” but it is at least medium sized so the Scottish management have obviously felt the need to bolster confidence before the players enter the West London lion’s den.
The last win came back in 1983 and if you can’t recall that fact don’t fret because you are going to be seeing plenty of it between now and next Saturday. Still, when defence coach Taylor wasn’t talking up his own squad of players he was bigging up the numbers that underpin English rugby. It is estimated that English players will receive £22,000 as a basic match fee for the Calcutta Cup before any bonuses are added on to that number.
It may not be much compared to football but it’s better than a kick in the backside.
Taylor is one of the few current Scottish coaches who will retain their post when Gregor Townsend takes over this summer and the Australian was reminiscing about the progress this squad of player has made under the glassy stare of Vern Cotter.
“It’s been great to be involved with the team over the last couple of years because everyone has seen the progression. We took some heavy knocks a couple of years ago and then we took some tight losses and now we have come out the other side, now we are winning those tight games.” Taylor calls next Saturday’s showdown the biggest test of the tournament to date and the coach did his best to explain why.
“What is it, ’83 since we haven’t won down there?” he asked rhetorically. “It’s an opportunity for us. They have the most players in the world to choose from, they probably have the biggest budget in world rugby, they have won 17 in a row and they are second in the world.
“Maybe he [Eddie Jones] can put his feet up this week.”