Eddie Jones’s ‘hit and hurt’ comment shows rugby’s mixed up messaging | Ben Ryan

World Rugby wants to reduce injuries and make the game easy to understand to attract new fans, yet the opposite is happening

“Whenever you pick a side you are always looking for the biggest, fastest, most skilful guys who like to hit and hurt people.” Eddie Jones said those exact words after the Italy game. Now I very much doubt he wanted to say he picked players that like to inflict injury and I don’t want to pick one soundbite from a press conference and accuse him of being the devil incarnate, but he said it in the public domain, on the record. Quite apart from how that may get interpreted by others in the game, it made me immediately compare his words with the direction of travel in which the game is going at the moment.

Jones uses a throwaway comment like that but would also be the first to say something (as he should) if an England player was injured by some targeted actions to deliberately hurt them. I’m sure he doesn’t condone that sort of behaviour, but his words sum up the game at the moment – a series of conflicting statements and actions; mixed up messaging everywhere.

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