War of words: Jones, Gatland clash after RWC semis

Eddie Jones sent tongue-in-cheek best wishes to Warren Gatland for Wales’ bronze medal match after the New Zealander queried whether England had played their World Cup final a match early.

Gatland’s Wales side were knocked out of the World Cup on Sunday, losing 19-16 to South Africa. They now face New Zealand in the bronze medal match on Friday, after England dispatched the All Blacks 19-7 in Saturday’s semifinal.

In the post-match news conference after their defeat to the Springboks, outgoing Wales coach Gatland was asked about England’s form and wondered whether they had peaked too soon.

“We have seen in previous World Cups that teams sometimes play their final in semifinals and don’t always turn up for a final,” Gatland said. “So will be interesting to see how England are next week and it could be a good game.”

When Jones was asked about Gatland’s comments, he said to the press: “Well, guys, can you just send my best wishes to Warren to make sure he enjoys the third and fourth place playoff?”

England delivered a promising injury update on Jonny May, who was forced off in the 43rd minute of their 19-7 win over the All Blacks.

“We had a walk through this [Monday] morning and we had to tell Jonny to slow down a bit,” Jones said of May. “He’s probably in better condition than he was last week at this stage. Immeasurably better.”

Jones said captain Owen Farrell was “a bit sore” but will be fit for Saturday’s final while a “few others are carrying bumps and bruises because it was a tough old game.”

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