E England Rugby
Eddie Jones abused on trains after Scotland defeat
By Eric Njiru | Thu 01 Mar, 2018 11:06

England rugby head coach Eddie Jones says he will not travel on public transport again after being physically and verbally abused while making his way back to London by train following Scotland's Calcutta Cup victory in Edinburgh.

Jones is believed to have feared for his safety as he travelled alone on Sunday morning (Monday NZ time), firstly to Manchester. He was a guest at Old Trafford of Sir Alex Ferguson when Manchester United beat Chelsea.

British Transport Police is investigating a second incident as Jones then journeyed back to London after the football match on a train full of football fans. Another passenger alerted the police, who met the train at Euston. No arrests were made but inquiries are continuing.

After England's 25-13 defeat by Scotland, Jones initially posed forĀ selfiesĀ on the 9.15am train to Manchester from Edinburgh Waverley before the atmosphere turned sour on the three-hour 11-minute journey. Sources say that at one point Jones was "jostled", and that the fans involved were Scottish.

The head coach disclosed yesterday at the England training base in Oxford that it was an "uncomfortable" experience, one that "massively surprised" him and one that he would not be repeating.

Jones said: "I try and do the right thing by the fans but if that happens then you've got to have a look at your own safety. I never knock back a request for a selfie unless I'm racing to somewhere. I did a lot.

"For me to travel on public transport, I thought was OK. I'm a human being. I don't consider myself any different from anyone else. But I'll make sure I won't in future. It's as simple as that. I can't. Because it was shown on Sunday what happens when I do.

"That's the world we live in. It wasn't comfortable. It was a bit of both [physical as well as verbal]. After a loss, no I wouldn't [do it again].It's [all] part of the challenge.

"When I came to England, I knew there were going to be challenges. As an Australian coaching England, there were always going to be challenges and that's just one of them."

While he did arrive safely and was able to take his seat alongside Sir Alex for the game, there is little doubt Jones was shaken. He declined to go into detail, stating that he "did not want to make a big deal of it". But he did make one telling point as to the invective that swirls around such fixtures.

Jones said: "If you're in a position of responsibility, you've got to be careful what you say. Because if you talk about hate and you talk about rubbing peoples' noses in the dirt, and all those sorts of things, it incites certain behaviours. Are they the sorts of behaviours that we want to see?"

Scotland prop Simon Berghan, despite being born in New Zealand, had to return to a press conference before the game and correct himself after he had spoken about the traditional "hate" for England.

Former Scotland captain Gavin Hastings was quoted last week as saying that although he admired Jones, "as a supporter of one of his opponents, you just want to rub his face in the dirt".

Jones also disclosed that he had once had a similar experience when attending a match at Bath. He had not thought to request a Rugby Football Union escort or car to be laid on as he considered himself to be on a private visit.

No RFU complaint has been made either to police or Virgin Trains.


Eric Njiru
Award-winning, bold, independent Rugby Journalist and Radio Presenter in Kenya, Southern Hemisphere with experience in Match-Day Reporting, News and Interviews. Covering Kenya 7s around the World. Email: ericnjiru41@gmail.com +254726205521
Leave a comment