Eddie Jones: Ireland are the best team in the world
England head coach Eddie Jones has hailed Ireland as the 'best team in the world' ahead of this weekend's Six Nations.
Ireland will open their Six Nations campaign against England at the Aviva Stadium this weekend with Joe Schmidt's charges aiming for their third consecutive Six Nations championship.
Ireland have won three of the last five tournaments and lost just one game last year (Australia) with a clean sweep of the Six Nations and the November internationals, including a first ever home win over two-time defending world champions and world number one New Zealand.
"They might be ranked 2, but on form @IrishRugby are probably the best team in the world."
Eddie Jones speaking about the strength of @SixNationsRugby this year ahead of Ireland v England at the Aviva this Saturday!#VMTVRugby #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/3kjV7wtowG
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) January 28, 2019
Ireland are currently still ranked behind the All Blacks but Jones feels that Ireland are currently the best team in the world.
"It's so exciting, it's a great competition," said Jones.
"Warren Gatland said it's probably the strongest we've seen the Six Nations. You've got ranked two, three, four in the world and Scotland are five are they [seventh]? And France are eighth or ninth [ninth].
"That's a pretty strong competition. Then you know Italy can cause an upset on any day. Play Ireland and they're the best... they're ranked two... but they're probably on form the best team in the world.
"It's a great opportunity for Ireland to take a foot forward and it's a great opportunity for us."
Former England captain Mike Tindall joined Alex Payne and James Haskell on House of Rugby questioned some of Jones selection, particularly the inclusion of Gloucester wing Ollie Thorley and asked what was the sense of using up a squad spot when an additional half-back may have been the smarter call. Tindall said:
"Why are they not bringing in another 10? I'm going to say something... I like Ollie Thorley but what the f**k is he doing in that squad?
"Not because he's a player, he's young and he's up and coming, and he can't be there, but where England are at the moment, in preparations for a Six Nations and a World Cup, he's not there."