Jones dismantles England rugby culture

Eddie Jones has continued to dismantle the cultural foundations laid by the previous England regime by declaring he is happy for his team to be labelled arrogant as long as they are winning.

Jones’ predecessor as head coach, Stuart Lancaster, was determined to disprove the reputation that has traditionally cloaked the Red Rose as part of his drive to restore the image of the national side.

Some felt England became too passive amid their desire to win friends, but Jones will allow his players to voice their hopes and expectations without fear of upsetting the management if accused by rivals of bragging.

“Arrogance is only bad when you lose. If you are winning and you are arrogant then it is self-belief. When you lose it is being arrogant,” Jones said.

“We are a side that is going to prepare well for Test matches. We’re going to believe we can win Test matches and we’re going to believe that we are going to be the best team in the world.

“Now if that’s being arrogant then it is being arrogant. To me it is belief about what we can be.”

Jones has apologised to Scotland coach Vern Cotter following last week’s round of verbal sparring and backtracked by installing England as favourites for the Calcutta Cup clash.

The Six Nations launch was the setting for the rival coaches to exchange words in the build up to Saturday’s Murrayfield showdown.

Jones insisted Scotland were favourites on the strength of their performance at the World Cup but Cotter took the opposite view, claiming Jones was trying to relieve the pressure on his shoulders.

“Vern Cotter doesn’t want to be favourites. We’re happy to be favourites. I know he was upset about that so I apologise to Vern,” Jones said.

“If you want me to write a letter, I’ll write a letter of apology. We’re happy to be favourites.”

Jones is famed for his mind-games and, while he disagrees with the term, admits that verbal jousting is key in the build-up to any match.

The one-time Australia coach also wants controversial captain Dylan Hartley to lead the team with his heart and not his head.

“On the field he’s got to be Tarzan,” Jones told the BBC on Monday. “He’s got to get out there and play with his heart and if he does that the players will follow him.”

Hartley, who has won 66 caps but is a controversial choice as captain, has accumulated bans totalling 54 weeks for head-butting, biting, gouging, swearing at referees, elbowing and punching.

“Leadership is not about being in the front of the bus, beating your chest and saying ‘do as I do’. It’s about engaging people and finding out what qualities they have. I’ve been pleased how Dylan’s done that.”

Hartley is unlikely to play the full 80 minutes on Saturday and Jones said he would name a deputy on Thursday when he announces his team.

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