Gatland and Wales dismiss Jones’ ‘greatest ever’ claim

Warren Gatland has poured cold water on Eddie Jones’ claims that this Welsh side is the ‘greatest team ever’ ahead of Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash.

Warren Gatland has poured cold water on Eddie Jones’ claims that this Welsh side is the ‘greatest team ever’ ahead of Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash.

The Wales head coach faced the press on Thursday after naming a much-changed side for the key Cardiff clash between the two unbeaten sides left in the 2019 Championship.

And while Jones has been talking up Wales – who are on a record-equalling 11-Test winning run – Gatland was quick to play down his side’s place in the history books.

The Kiwi said: “The only quotes I can see about this being the ‘greatest Welsh team ever’ has come from Eddie Jones, it hasn’t come from anyone else!

“I wouldn’t be disrespectful enough to say that this was the greatest Welsh team ever. It’s a long way off being the greatest Welsh team ever.

“We’re all pretty aware that yes, we’re on a good run and have done well in the last 12 months but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

“Let’s try keep our feet on the ground. This is another game – a big game – for us, but we’re pretty excited for it.”

Gatland has made 11 changes in all for the clash at Principality Stadium as his side look to improve on their scratchy showing in Rome in Round Two.

Gareth Davies has been given the nod at No.9 with Tomos Williams missing through injury while Gareth Anscombe gets the nod at fly-half.

Alun Wyn Jones captains a Wales side that also sees British & Irish Lions Justin Tipuric, Ken Owens, Ross Moriarty and George North return to the starting XV.

And while Wales have lost their last five meetings with England in the Championship, Gatland is feeling confident.

“We are really happy with the experience we have got in the side,” said Wales head coach Gatland.

“We have been on the road for the first two weeks, we are looking forward to being back at home and to build on those first two wins and to build on our performance.

“We’ve had a great two week lead up to this game, we’ve looked really sharp and the squad are incredibly motivated to kick on.”

England have claimed bonus-point wins over both Ireland and France to open up this year’s Championship.

And while they will be without the injured Mako Vunipola and Chris Ashton this weekend, the duo joining Maro Itoje and Dylan Hartley on the treatment table, Gatland has been impressed with their performances so far.

“To be fair, they have done pretty well in terms of their opening two games,” he added.

“Technically they were very good against Ireland, they were very direct and they have kicked a lot in the first two games.

“They play three or four phases and then kick for grass or put the ball up in the air and they have been getting a lot of success from that and have scored a lot of tries from it.

“Our aerial game will have to be good and we will have to be prepared to play some tertritory.

“They have started really well in the competition, but I don’t think anyone knows where we are, except for ourselves which is a nice place to be in.”