England v Ireland Betting: Jones wields the axe to start chasing his losses

Joe Launchbury
Joe Launchbury is one of seven England players left out in sweeping changes
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England's pride is at stake at Twickenham as they try to halt Ireland's Grand Slam. Ralph Ellis fears Eddie Jones may have made too many changes...

"England are just favourites at [2.02] in the Match Odds but any coach who changes half a team risks a disjointed performance."

So what happens when the man who can do no wrong suddenly finds that he cannot do anything right? When the air of total invincibility, of complete and utter confidence, is in danger of being swept away?

That's what we're about to find out with Eddie Jones, who after two years of walking on water has suddenly found his feet sinking in the mud.

What a week it has been for him. As if a second defeat in a row wasn't bad enough, then came the embarrassing gaffe of the YouTube video emerging of him talking about the "Scummy Irish" during a corporate lecture. Just what you want a few days before Joe Schmidt's side arrive at Twickenham in search of a Grand Slam.

And just to rub a bit of salt in the wounds the latest world rankings put England down to number three, a bit of a blow when you think the year began with brave talk about challenging the All Blacks to be top of the tree.

So now, a bit like a Cheltenham gambler whose two big things have both let him down, Jones is chasing his losses with drastic action for the final Six Nations game. As they say, when the fun stops, stop!

Ford is axed

He delayed his team announcement today to wait for fitness checks on skipper Dylan Hartley and Elliot Daly, and then unveiled a side with SEVEN changes.

Most remarkable of all he has axed fly-half George Ford, until now a regular having played at ten in 21 of the 27 matches that Jones has taken charge of. Indeed one of the key decisions the Australian took was to find a way to fit Ford and Owen Farrell into the same side.

He's torn that up on the evidence of defeats away to Scotland and France and for the first time since Jones took over from the hapless Stuart Lancaster the air of complete authority has gone.

Farrell moves to fly half, while scrum half Danny Care goes out and Richard Wigglesworth comes in. Joe Launchbury is dropped so Maro Itoje pairs with George Kruis in the second row. Anthony Watson is full back with Mike Brown on the bench.

It has been interesting listening to some of the comparisons of coaching technique coming out this week. New Zealander Schmidt is getting praise from all the Irish players for his attention to detail tactically while Jones is suddenly considered to be more of a man manager.

England were always expected to beat Ireland at Twickenham. Home advantage matters - indeed that was what Jones was referring to when he promised in his lecture to an audience of Japanese businessmen that he would gain revenge for defeat to the "scummy Irish".

Schmidt's tactical plans

Suddenly it is in doubt. England are just favourites at [2.02] in the Match Odds but any coach who changes half a team risks a disjointed performance.

Having already lost money backing the Red Rose for a Grand Slam I'm not sure I trust them any more to believe they can stop the Irish in their tracks.

You can be certain Schmidt will arrive at Twickenham with a plan, and while it will be tight Ireland to win by 1-12 points in the Winning Margin market at [2.88] and upwards looks like offering some value.

Then if Jones thinks the media fuss over a few stray comments at a corporate event was a problem, wait to see the inquests into what went wrong on the field. Where would he go from here?

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