2 Mar 2018

Scottish Rugby disgusted by abuse of Jones

6:56 am on 2 March 2018

Scottish Rugby says it is disgusted at the abuse suffered by England coach Eddie Jones at the hands of a number of Scotland fans.

England rugby coach Eddie Jones.

England rugby coach Eddie Jones. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Jones revealed on Thursday (NZ time) he feared for his safety after being targeted with verbal and physical abuse while catching a train from Edinburgh to Manchester on the morning after England's Six Nations defeat at Murrayfield.

The Australian travelled alone on standard class to be a guest of Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford for Manchester United's English Premier League game on Sunday afternoon with Chelsea, before receiving similar treatment on the final leg of his journey from Manchester to London.

He has resolved not to use public transport again.

"The disgusting behaviour of those involved does not represent the values of our sport or its fans," Scottish Rugby said in a statement.

"The dignity Eddie and the England team showed on Saturday is in stark contrast to this ugly incident."

Video footage obtained by BBC sports editor Dan Roan shows Jones posing for selfies with fans, who then turn on him.

"I'm a human being. I don't consider myself any different from anyone else, so for me to travel on public transport, I thought was OK. But I'll make sure I won't in future. It's as simple as that," Jones said.

"I can't because it was shown on Sunday what happens when I do. That's the world we live in. I was massively surprised. It wasn't comfortable."

When asked whether the abuse was physical or verbal, Jones replied: "A bit of both.

"It's part of the challenge. As an Australian coaching England, there were always going to be challenges and that's just one of them."

Jones casts his experience after an interview last week by Scotland and British and Irish Lions great Gavin Hastings, while also referencing prop Simon Berghan's pre-Six Nations match claim that "everyone hates England".

"As a supporter of one of his opponents, you just want to rub his face in the dirt," said Hastings, who won 67 caps in a distinguished career spanning nine years.

Jones believes Hastings and Berghan should have chosen their words more carefully due to the influence they wield.

"It magnifies that if you're in a position of responsibility, you've got to be careful what you say," he said.

"Because if you talk about hate and you talk about rubbing peoples' nose in the dirt, and all those sorts of things, it incites certain behaviours and are they the sorts of behaviours that we want to see?"

Part of Jones' frustration with the incidents is due to his willingness to engage with supporters.

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

- PA