Gat­land hits out at Jones ‘do-or-die’ com­ment

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby World Cup - By Mick Cleary RUGBY COR­RE­SPON­DENT in Oita

Warren Gat­land has re­jected Ed­die Jones’s de­scrip­tion of knock­out matches as “do-or-die”, claim­ing it of­fends lo­cal sen­si­bil­i­ties.

Jones made the com­ments when an­nounc­ing his team to face Aus­tralia in to­day’s quar­ter-fi­nal in Oita, stress­ing the fi­nal­ity of knock­out matches.

The Eng­land head coach also ref­er­enced the ethos of the an­cient Ja­panese war­riors, the Samu­rai, not­ing that his Eng­land squad had the same men­tal­ity, all “23 of them up in the hills, with eight more hid­ing in the caves”, ready to do bat­tle.

But while stress­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of a quar­ter-fi­nal, the Wales head coach re­fused to re­gard his side’s game against France to­mor­row in Oita in the same tone as his Eng­land coun­ter­part.

“I wouldn’t be us­ing do-or-die words,” said Gat­land. “I think they’re a bit sen­si­tive at the mo­ment, given what’s hap­pened in the last few weeks.

“It’s just an­other game of rugby, but we know how im­por­tant it is.”

Mil­i­tary analo­gies are not un­usual in sport, and Jones of­ten in­vokes them in at­tempt­ing to ex­press the tough­ness and re­silience of his play­ers.

There is an­other side to the spec­trum, how­ever.

Jones opened the press con­fer­ence with a mov­ing trib­ute to those who had lost their lives, and suf­fered dur­ing Typhoon Hag­ibis the pre­vi­ous week­end.

Jones spoke in Ja­panese as he said: “I would like to ex­press my heart­felt con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of those who have lost their fam­ily mem­bers dur­ing the typhoon. The Ja­pan v Scot­land game was fan­tas­tic. Ja­panese peo­ple have a very strong ‘fight­ing spirit’.

“We sin­cerely hope for the ear­li­est pos­si­ble re­cov­ery.”

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