“As much as I want to celebrate it, we need a bit of a reality check – Eddie Jones has done one on the game.”
Last Updated: 30/08/21 8:30pm
Jon Wilkin says losing the likes of Jon Clarke and Martin Gleeson to rugby union is not good for rugby league.
Wilkins comments came after Eddie Jones was a special guest to watch Warrington take on St Helens in their Super League clash at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
England’s strength and conditioning coach is former Warrington player and coach Jon Clarke, who played 263 games for the Wolves.
With Martin Gleeson recently signing up as England attack coach, Brian Carney says it shows the respect union has for league, however Jon Wilkin says he finds it hard to celebrate.
“Union has been obsessed with learning from Rugby League over the last 20 years,” said Wilkin on Sky Sports.
“My fear is that league has not learnt an awful lot from rugby union. It does show respect for our sport and shows the skill of our coaches. My fear as a rugby league fan, is that Martin Gleeson has been a 25-30 year investment – a lot has gone into making him an amazing rugby league coach with a fantastic mind. That has gone.
“As much as I want to celebrate it, we need a bit of a reality check – Eddie Jones has done one on the game.
“He has taken a fantastic coach from our sport.”
Jones said that he was hoping that Gleeson would bring those league nuances of attack to the England set-up and believes that the attack of league is more sophisticated than union because of the lack of contests.
Jones also revealed that he thought Hull FC full-back Jake Connor would make an excellent union player: “He [Connor] is a tough, skillful player – I am sure if he got fitter he could make it,” joked Jones.
Brian Carney, who played both league and union for Ireland, was not going to let the England coach get away with the last comment and was quick with his riposte: “A rugby league player needing to get fit to play rugby union – we have had a magician in here tonight and now we have a comedian.”