October 4, 2019 / 1:03 PM / 2 months ago

'Actor' Jones could steer England a long way, says Jackman

LONDON (Reuters) - England coach Eddie Jones has an attention to detail which is “off the scales”, is a great actor in front of the media and can lead England a long way at the World Cup, according to former Ireland international Bernard Jackman.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool C - England v United States - Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe, Japan - September 26, 2019 England head coach Eddie Jones during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

The former Sale, Leinster and Ireland hooker, who spent time with Jones when he was in charge of Japan before the 2015 World Cup, said the Australian coach had an unbelievable desire to learn and grow.

“His level of detail is off the scales. For example, he read a study on what the ideal lighting was for optimal learning at video sessions and insists all his meeting rooms have that light level,” Jackman told the Global Sports Forum chatroom run by data company Refinitiv on Friday.

“He spends time in high-level business teams and educators looking for that little one percent extra. Eddie loves data and pushes his support staff incredibly hard to provide the data he needs. I think England are in a great place despite not being overly impressive in Japan. I think England’s pack could do a job on New Zealand (later in the tournament). They are the best northern hemisphere side.”

The Irish coach said Jones also hides his real personality from the media.

“The Eddie that you see in the media isn’t the real Eddie. He plays the role of an actor,” he said. “The real Eddie loves fun and banter — and he loves developing leaders and winning.”

Jackman, who has coached in France with Grenoble as well as in Wales with the Dragons, was speaking after a trip to Japan and he was particularly critical of the refereeing of offside at the tournament.

“The big issue with handling errors, for me, is the lack of offside line which takes away time. The offside line is being ignored by officials, in my opinion,” he said. “There is a huge emphasis on player safety — and rightly so — but I feel that they are focusing so much on that they are missing a lot of offsides which actually takes away time and space and makes it more dangerous anyway.

“The assistant referees should help but, to be honest, it’s not new and has been an issue for the last year.”

Jackman, who began his top-class career at Connacht before retiring in 2010 because of a concussion injury, believes his native Ireland are struggling for form in Pool A after their defeat to Japan last weekend following an opening victory over Scotland.

The Irish top the pool after beating Russia but have played one more game than their Japanese rivals.

“They are average after a brilliant 2018. The mood in the Irish camp is edgy. They are frustrated,” he said.

“We thought that the Scotland match was the start of a revival but Japan and Russia were poor performances. There is the legacy of us never making it past the quarters in the World Cup before which adds to the tension.”

Editing by Toby Davis

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