Eddie Jones senses the “hatred” felt towards England from their RBS 6 Nations rivals and will allow his players to harness it to their advantage.
England have long been the Championship’s most highly-prized scalp with the Celts and France desperate to topple a historical foe after centuries of shared enmity.
Jones, an Australian, is aware of the bitterness and will enable his team to circle the wagons ahead of Ireland’s visit to Twickenham on Saturday if it is beneficial.
“Maybe Clive Woodward summed it up best when he said everyone hates England — that’s true,” Jones said. “Because of the history that is involved with the social and historical context, there is that long-seated rivalry and hatred of England. You can feel it.
“I’m not going to use it, but within the side they can use it. As I said when I took over, I’m not English, I’m Australian, but I will be absolutely committed to them.
“I’m not going to talk to the players about things I don’t understand. I only talk them to about things I do understand. But we have got staff that can do that. And if we think it is appropriate we will.”
Jones will oversee his first match at Twickenham as England head coach when the champions visit in the third round of the Six Nations.
When asked about the previous regime’s decision to fill changing rooms with historical signposts in the hope of generating team culture by tapping into the past, Jones instead chose to focus on what happens on the pitch.
“The whole week we spend trying to get it right on the field. The dressing room is 40 minutes before the game,” Jones said. “To me it’s not insignificant, it’s important, but it’s not something I’ll be staying up at night worrying about.
“You go back to the [former New Zealand coach] Graham Henry situation when Tana Umaga was All Blacks captain. After five games Tana went up to him and said ‘Graham, do you think your speeches are really having a good effect?’
“And Graham said to Tana ‘yes I do, what do you think?’. Umaga said no. And then Graham never made a pre-game speech after.
“To me, it’s not a significant part of our preparation. It’s what we do out here on the field during the week that will count. That’s what counts on the inside.
“What we do on the field at training [is] what we do on the field on Saturday. Our performance is a consequence of what we do during the week. So if we work hard during the week, play for each other during the week and do the small things that count, then nine times out of 10 we’ll see that on Saturday.”
Jones believes the defence and set-piece of his team can be judged fairly at the end of the Six Nations, but the 2019 World Cup is when his work should be assessed in its entirety.
“I was interested to read yesterday that we are a disappointment because we haven’t played any expansive rugby. We’ve been together four weeks,” Jones said.
“There must be some magic dust out there. I need to buy some. Spray it out there and the whole side changes.
“I think we’re going in the right direction. I am really pleased how the payers are working, very pleased with their commitment, with the way they are taking initiative and being independent, working hard on their game.
“I couldn’t be more pleased, but we are a work in progress. The end destination for us is 2019, that’s where I expect us to be at our absolute best.
“That’s not to say we can’t be good enough to win tournaments and Test matches along the way. That’s our aim.”
Jones, who has been instructing his team to stand flatter in attack, is prepared for an aerial bombardment from Ireland.
“They kick 70 per cent of their ball away. If they want to do that, good luck to them,” Jones said. “It has worked for them. It is not the way I think you should play rugby but it has been successful for them, so good luck.”