England coach Jones drains 'media poison' as Daly earns Ireland recall

Julian Guyer
·3-min read

England coach Eddie Jones said he was draining "media rat poison" from players' minds after recalling Elliot Daly at outside centre for Saturday's Six Nations finale away to Ireland.

Daly, best known at Test level as a full-back, has returned in place of the injured Henry Slade after being on the bench for last week's 23-20 win at home to France.

Reigning champions England started this Six Nations with an 11-6 loss to Scotland, a match in which the 28-year-old Daly struggled as the Scots enjoyed a first Twickenham triumph over their arch-rivals since 1983.

And he was dropped to the bench against France, with Max Malins starting at full-back, following a 40-24 defeat by Wales that effectively ended England's hopes of a successful title defence.

But having impressed after coming on in the second half as England denied Les Bleus a Grand Slam, Daly finds himself in what Jones has said is his preferred position.

"His form wasn't very good at the start of the tournament, was it?," Jones said Thursday.

"We had a number of players like that, he wasn't the only one. All those players have had to dig deep and find themselves, as the team has."

The veteran Australian coach, asked if Daly's confidence had been knocked, replied: "I've never seen confidence walk through the door, so I don't know what confidence is.

"I don't think there is any such thing as confidence, you either think rightly or you think wrongly and the wrong time (is when) you start to listen to the poison that's written in the media, that rat poison gets into players' heads.

"We try to spray all that rat poison that you (the media) try to put in and get it out of their head."

Saturday's match in Dublin will be the first time Daly, lining up alongside England captain and Saracens team-mate Owen Farrell, has started a Red Rose match in the centres since 2016.

- 'Work it out for himself' -

But Jones was in no doubt the versatile back, who has also played on the wing while winning 54 England caps, could cope.

"It's not difficult, not for a player like him," he said.

"He adapts very quickly he's got pace, a great left-foot kick, he's a great reader in defence so he can play those positions quite easily.

"And that's the great value of having Elliot in the squad."

Jones insisted Daly, a British and Irish Lion, was not one of those players who needed a morale boost from the coaching staff.

"Elliot is an experienced player, he's got fifty caps, he can work it out for himself and he has," he said. "We're really pleased that he is coming back to his best form.

"We know at his best he is a world-class player and we are anticipating that on Saturday."

England have won their last four Tests against an Ireland side coached by Andy Farrell -- Owen's father.

But Jones said he was still expecting a physical battle -- "a proper Test match" -- when confronting the Irish, who just did enough to beat Scotland 27-24 last weekend.

"They've been getting a lot of change out of their kicking game recently by going to the air and causing mayhem at times wherever that be on the field," said Jones of Ireland.

"We've got to be ready for everything. They can play, they've got some outstanding players, they've got some threats in the air and at the breakdown, which will be a big part of that as well."