Rugby – Six Nations | Jones starts mind games ahead of England-Wales

England coach Eddie Jones recalled Jonathan Joseph and urged the center to put inexperienced Wales flyhalf Rhys Patchell “under some heat” in the Six Nations match between the two fierce rivals tomorrow.

“Every time Rhys Patchell looks up, he’s going to see Jonathan Joseph in his vision — it’s not a great sight,” Jones said, before attempting to heap more pressure on the No. 10.

“Wales have to get the ball wide and Patchell hasn’t played much test-match rugby. He’s a young guy, he’s inexperienced, and is their third-choice No. 10. He’s got to get the ball wide and that’s going to be a big job.”

Starting in place of injured flyhalves Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland, Patchell was influential in Wales’ 34-7 win over Scotland last week and kept his place as part of an unchanged Wales lineup for the trip to Twickenham. It will be his seventh cap for Wales.

“Scotland couldn’t cope with the expectation,” Jones said, “and now he has got to cope with the expectation of playing well. Patchell will have to find guys around him to help because he’ll be under some heat.”

Joseph comes in for Ben Te’o and was one of two changes from the England team that opened the Six Nations with a 46-15 win against Italy.

Danny Care replaced the injured Ben Youngs and will move past 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Matt Dawson as England’s most-capped scrumhalf, on 78 appearances.

Te’o impressed with his powerful carrying against Italy but faded in his first appearance since undergoing ankle surgery in October. Jones opted for the slick footwork and experience of Joseph against the Welsh, saying he had a “gut feeling.”

“I feel he will start the game well against Wales,” Jones said. “Jonathan’s got great experience, he’s fast, a great defensive player.

“We were very happy with Te’o last week, but it’s also his second game back. And in my experience with players in their second game back from a long injury, it’s always the most difficult game.” AP

Categories Sports