England rugby union coach Eddie Jones has apologised for offensive comments he made last year about Wales and Ireland.
The Australian, speaking at a sponsor’s event in July 2017, talked about how disappointed he was by his team’s Six Nations loss to the “scummy Irish” and described Wales as a “little shit place”.
“No excuses. I shouldn’t have said what I did,” Jones told the BBC. “I am very sorry for any offence caused.”
The English RFU said it would apologise to the sport’s ruling bodies in Ireland and Wales and a spokesperson described Jones’s comments as “inappropriate”.
In March last year, England lost 13-9 to Ireland in Dublin in a defeat which ended the team’s chances of a second-successive Grand Slam (beating all five other teams in the Six Nations) and denying them a world record 19th-straight Test win.
In the talk, Jones refers to the need to create a “self-driven, self-motivated team”.
“You know, we’re trying to do that with England at the moment,” he said.
“So we’ve played 23 Tests, we’ve only lost once to the scummy Irish.
“I’m still dirty about that game. But we’ll get them back, we’ll get them back don’t worry, we’ve got them next year at home, we’ll get them back, we’ll get them back.
‘It’s this little s*** place’
Earlier in the talk, Jones had been speaking about his time as coach of the Japanese rugby union side, which had struggled against Tier One (top 10) countries, and he referred to Wales’ under-20 side, which had played Japan three months after he took over the job.
“So Wales. Who knows Wales? Is [sic] any Welsh people here?” Jones asked.
“So, it’s this little shit place, it’s got 3 million people; 3 million people; 3 million.”
The timing of the comments being highlighted could not be worse — with the English set to come up against Ireland in this year’s tournament at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Irish will complete the Grand Slam for the third time in their history (after 1948 and 2009) if they beat England, which won the Six Nations for the past two years but has lost to Scotland and France in the past month.