Bagshot - England coach Eddie Jones has long been a huge
cricket fan, which is perhaps unsurprising since he spent his formative years
in Sydney, one of the summer sport's great strongholds.
But it turns out that Jones's has another, far less
well-known sporting passion - West Ham.
The east London football club, who play in the Premier
League, caught Jones's eye when, growing up in the 1970s, he watched episodes
of the BBC's 'Match of the Day' soccer highlights programme, which was also
shown in Australia.
Jones has made a habit of inviting coaches from other sports
into training during his two-year reign as England coach and he asked Hammers
manager David Moyes along ahead of this weekend's Calcutta Cup clash away to
Scotland - even though the former Manchester United boss is a proud Scot.
But Moyes's decision to reschedule a West Ham training
session meant he couldn't make it, so one of his assistants, Stuart Pearce,
came along instead and Jones was delighted to meet the former England fullback.
"We had some great chats about West Ham," Jones
said of his conversation with Pearce. "I used to be a West Ham supporter.
"I used to love Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Frank
Lampard (senior) all those guys. They had those big tough defenders and
Brooking was the artist at the front. I loved Billy Bonds for some reason,
maybe because he was that big tough defender," said Jones, who compared
former England midfielder Brooking to one of Australia's greatest batsmen.
"Brooking always reminded me of Greg Chappell playing
football, bit of an artist and they have that claret and light blue jersey I
liked. Had them into the team meeting and Ben Te'o was the only West Ham
But England captain Dylan Hartley, like Te'o born in New Zealand,
cast doubt on the centre's credentials as a loyal 'Hammer'.
"I found that out the other day," the hooker
recalled. "We introduced Stuart and asked if anyone was a West Ham fan and
Ben Te'o's hand went up. Everyone laughed. I don't think Ben Te'o knows who
West Ham are."