Eddie Jones is imploring his England side to be on the alert for any scheming from Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones when the two sides meet in Cardiff on Saturday.
On England’s last visit to the Principality Stadium two years ago, tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler was the target of the Welsh second-row’s constant wind ups and ultimately conceded two penalties in quick succession, leading to a pivotal shift in the 21-13 defeat that saw Sinckler brought off the pitch on the hour mark.
The England boss insists the Red Rose cannot afford to make the same mistakes against Wales and Jones, their most capped player, and believes that his side are starting to become a more “street-smart team.”
“It’s his [Alun Wyn Jones] 146th Test so he knows what he’s doing. He’s an experienced campaigner who has a good relationship with the referees,” Jones said.
“At times he has targeted players in our team. We’ve spoken about him and we understand what he’ll be trying to do. It’s just about making sure we maintain our composure and our control.
“We are evolving into a more street-smart team, but the game is about pressure situations. While we all like to think we can handle every pressure situation, we don’t and that is the great thing about the game of rugby.
“I’m sure Alun Wyn Jones is going to be looking for those situations and we’re going to have to deal with them.”
England’s last six games against Wales have been decided by tight single-digit margins and Jones knows that this weekend’s contest will be a similarly high-pressure match.
“We know that these games go down to the wire and it is about executing plays. They’re tight contests that go down to the last moment. We won one there in 2017, basically on the bell.
“And we had to win on the bell at Twickenham last year, so we’re expecting a similar sort of game.
“These sorts of game you’ve got to win not once, but maybe two or three times. Wales will keep coming and keep coming. It will be a great contest.”
In their last Six Nations meeting, a 33-30 defeat for Wales at Twickenham in March 2020, England centre Manu Tuilagi was sent off and the side were forced to finish with 13 men, inspiring a late revival from the visitors.
England are 4/9 favourites to win the games with Betfred, with Wales priced at 2/1. Kick-off tomorrow is at 16:45 GMT with the game will be shown live on BBC One.