England legend hits out at Eddie Jones’ Wales outburst

England legend Neil Back has urged rugby’s authorities to use the coronavirus-enforced break to address the sport’s warped disciplinary system.

“The last round of the Six Nations has created some question marks over the laws of the game in terms of bans and now that no matches are being played, there’s time to look at these issues,” Back told the PA news agency.

“If you look at the bans given to the players and then the comments Eddie Jones made, they are all out of kilter and need looking at.

“Eddie gets a rap over the knuckles, but no ban. Joe Marler – we all know his intentions there and the character he is. There was no malicious intent, it was just playful.

“All the incidents were worthy of bans, but if Joe Marler gets 10 weeks, Eddie Jones gets nothing, Manu gets four and the French guy who punches someone in the face gets three, then it doesn’t seem right.

“It needs looking at because is touching someone in an inappropriate area three times worse than punching someone in the head? It doesn’t sit right for me.”

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The lack of meaningful repercussions for Jones, despite respect and sportsmanship being listed as two of Twickenham’s five ‘core values’, has been widely condemned.

“Eddie’s been a breath of fresh air and has done more things right than wrong, but he doesn’t help himself. He needs to stop and pause to think about what he’s saying,” Back said.

“If you don’t do something about it, then people will think it’s OK. What Eddie Jones said and did is not OK, nor was what Joe Marler did OK. It’s about how they are punished.”


Neil Back made some surprising selections when picking his Dream Team

England legend Neil Back picked his all-time dream team for The Rugby Paper, featuring Jonah Lomu, Martin Johnson, and Joel Stransky (but there’s no room for Lawrence Dallaglio and Johnny Wilkinson.

1. Graham Rowntree – “His performances in Australia and New Zealand the summer before the 2003 World Cup played a huge part in our success.”
2. Keith Wood – “I first faced him in my second Test in 1994. Was like a back-rower-wannabe-centre but with the skills to match.”
3. Darren Garforth – “He was the cornerstone of the Tigers’ back-to-back Heineken Cup winning squads in 2001 and 2002.”
4. Martin Johnson – “Leader. Warrior. Engine. Furrowed brow. Ferengi. Winner. Friend. Would obviously be the captain of my team.”
5. Fritz Van Heerden –  “Complimented Johnson’s more powerful play with mobility, but perhaps more importantly he pioneered the contesting of the opposition’s lineout throws and helped develop Ben Kay.”
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