Eddie Jones, England’s Australian rugby coach, has come under fire for his unpleasant and “sexist” comments about US Open winner Emma Raducanu.
The Australian, who over the years has built a book of one-liners, left many surprised when he took an unusual grip when discussing England’s next big thing, playmaker Marcus Smith.
Following England’s 69-3 win over Tonga, Jones said Smith, who recently made his international debut after guiding the Harlequins to a remarkable Premiership victory, should be kept away from off-track distractions and provided an unfavorable comparison with Raducanu.
“There’s a reason the young girl who won the US Open has not done so well afterwards,” Jones said ahead of England’s Test against the Wallabies on Sunday (4:30 AEDT). “What have you seen her on – the cover of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar or whatever, wearing Christian Dior clothes.”
Watch live coverage of The Autumn Nations Series with beIN SPORTS on Kayo including every Wallabies & All Blacks match. New to Kayo? Start your free trial>
Raducanu, who incredibly won the US Open despite being a teenage wildcard, has won two out of four matches since.
Jones’ comments have been widely criticized, and former British star and world No. 5 Jo Durie tells The Telegraph, “no one ever complains about guys going to galas; it’s always something being thrown at women.”
Durie said the comments were downright “sexist” and took exceptions to the fact that Jones failed to call Raducanu by her name and instead as a “young girl”.
“Emma is not a girl; she is an 18 year old woman. Unfortunately, when you are so famous, everyone likes to have their opinion about you, ”Durie said The Telegraph.
Journalists were quick to dismiss Jones’ comments, while former hockey Olympic gold medalist Kate Richardson-Walsh took a special exception to his comments.
“It’s definitely important for everyone to think about distractions … It’s also really important not to be a poorly informed, condescending, hypocritical misogynist.”
Former England striker James Haskell, who played under Jones and was one of many who felt the bulk of his chosen words, disagreed, however, saying the comments were not sexist.
“Honestly, how you think this is sexist is outside of me,” Haskell wrote on social media.
“It’s a point about distraction and the pitfalls of fame; it can happen to anyone. I can see that you desperately want to incite the cancellation mob, but you have to do better than that. “
Judy Murray dismissed the comments, saying Jones’ comments were “typical of what female athletes are up against in terms of insensitive comments”.
“First,” Murray added, “Jones clearly does not remember her name. Calling her ‘the young girl’ sounded dismissive.
“Of course she’s not an experienced professional yet. But what teenager would not like to enjoy some of her success by going to events and getting involved in fashion brands. Even now Emma has only played two more events since the US Open. Her story is not at all comparable to what Jones is talking about. “
INJURIES: Wallabies sweat on 135kg prop condition after scrum ‘mess’ was revealed
‘YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS’: The Wallabies captain blows up the referee after ‘big call’ that triggered Test
WALLABIES PLAYER RATINGS: Scrum smashed, attack fights while Rennie sweats on Tupou
Prior to Jones’ comments, Raducanu told reporters in Austria over the weekend that her priorities had not changed and she remained focused on her tennis career.
“I’ve been pretty busy since the US Open,” Raducanu said. “I really enjoyed everything [but] I made it very, very clear to every single person on my team that I would not cancel a training session or a training session for any off-field commitments. It was not negotiable for me. “