Wales coach Warren Gatland has his hands full with Scotland in their Six Nations rugby opener this weekend, but the canny Kiwi has not been able to resist the chance to take a dig at title favourites England.
Gatland suggested Eddie Jones’ England, who open their campaign against Italy in Rome on Sunday, might be undone by the poor form of their teams in Europe’s Champions Cup this season.
Saracens were the only English club to qualify for the quarterfinals of the elite European competition, and they snuck into the eighth and final spot via a favourable result elsewhere.
“I look back on the form of English clubs in Europe and think that when they have five teams in the quarterfinals, you are looking at a pretty strong England squad,” Gatland told reporters at the Six Nations launch. “You look now and they have one club, which qualified in eighth place.
“There starts to be some question marks from my point of view and, I hope, my players. It gives you a bit of confidence and self-belief. We have a number of players from the Scarlets who became the third team to qualify for the quarterfinals after losing their first two matches, outstanding in Bath and then showing character against Toulon. They came into the squad with a spring in their step and that filters through to everyone else.”