England boss Eddie Jones says Ireland is “the most cohesive side in the world”, installing Andy Farrell’s men as favorites for Saturday’s Six Nations showdown at Twickenham.
Jones tried to pressure his opponents, suggesting their more seamless prep time will help them in the fall and Six Nations Test windows.
But the Australian warned that those benefits would disappear at the 2023 World Cup in France, with all teams having standardized access to their players in the run-up to standardized access to their players.
Ireland are second in the Six Nations table after two wins in three matches, three points behind unbeaten France. England are third, one point behind Farrell’s men.
“It’s an important week in the tournament (Six Nations),” Jones said Monday. “There are three more teams in the tournament and we are lucky enough to be one of those three.
“Ireland is the favorite for the game. They were in very good shape in the fall, it is a very stable team and very well coached by Andy Farrell.”
He added: “They are literally, and I say this without hesitation, the most cohesive side in the world.
“Most of their team trains together for most of the year so they are very well coordinated in their attack, they are very structured, they are very sequenced in set plays. And they are tough around the outage.”
Ireland’s provincial system helps the Test side, giving players the chance to switch between national and international camps, while the English club lineup is not as well integrated.
But Jones, whose side was beaten by South Africa in the 2019 World Cup final in Japan, said next year’s tournament in France would be a major leveling off.
“In the three months before the World Cup, every team will be equal,” he said.
“We all have the same amount of time to practice, we all have the players the same amount of time. So far, teams have their players for different times, there are different experiences.
“We can only have 25 players until Tuesday, other teams can have 42 until Thursday. So it’s all different. But once you get to the start of the World Cup campaign, it’s all the same.”