England head coach Eddie Jones admits to being embarrassed by the brilliance of Sir Dave Brailsford when talking to the cycling supremo in advance of rugby union’s Six Nations.
Ex-Wallabies metor Jones recently attended coaches’ meetings alongside Brailsford and former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and while each provided valuable insights into performance at the highest level, it was the former who really stood out.
Brailsford is general manager of cycling outfit Ineos Grenadiers, formerly known as Team Sky, and has presided over an unparalleled era of British success both on the road and in the velodrome.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of conferences with Dave Brailsford and Arsene Wenger, particularly Brailsford,” Jones said.
“I feel embarrassed being at the same table as him. His thought pattern and the way he thinks about preparation and how to take a team forward were absolutely outstanding.
“I have been lucky enough to learn from those two guys. Arsene – he has got a wealth of experience in how you manage teams and how the longer you stay in the job, what you have got to do to keep your team growing. I picked up a couple of ideas from him.”
England open their Six Nations title defence against Scotland at Twickenham on February 6, by which point they will already have been in their bio-secure environment for 10 days.
‘Bubble fatigue’ has caused difficulties in cricket and with Owen Farrell’s champions facing long chunks of the next eight weeks in camp under stricter coronavirus protocols than in the autumn, Jones will carefully observe his players’ wellbeing while acknowledging the good fortune of still being able to take part in the competition.
“It’s an important point and we will continually have to monitor that,” said Jones, who is currently self-isolating after his forwards coach Matt Proudfoot tested positive for Covid-19.
“You can see in most elite sports at the moment that fatigue is a factor. A lot of players have come off no pre-season.
“They’ve had back-to-back seasons and it’s quite oppressive conditions, but we have got to have a smile on our faces because we are lucky to be able to play our sport, to play at elite level. We are just so grateful to play.”