Former England and British & Irish Lions star Will Greenwood has defended Italy's controversial tactics that were deployed against his nation's side during England's 36-15 victory over the Italians in their Six Nations clash in London yesterday.
England head coach Eddie Jones accused Italy's tactics of going against the spirit of the game in his post-match interviews at Twickenham yesterday, even comparing the Azzurri's game plan to former Australian cricketer Trevor Chappell's infamous underarm bowl against New Zealand in 1981, which prevented the Black Caps from scoring the six runs that they needed to win in the final ball of the match.
"I'm not happy with what happened: I don't think that's rugby," Jones said of the Italian player's decision to not contest at the breakdown to reclaim the ball. This resulted in no ruck being formed, thus meaning no offside line was evident, allowing the Italian players to get behind the tackle line onto England's side of play, and block off any attempted passes.
"It's not a game of rugby, it ceases to be a game of rugby. Congratulations to Italy, they strategically were smart today. Well done to them but it's not rugby, let's be serious about this," a frustrated Jones vented.
Speaking to Radio Sport Breakfast this morning, the 57-test Greenwood spoke about Jones' spat against the Italians, criticising the former Wallabies and Japan coach while praising Italian coach Conor O'Shea and his side for trying a unique tactic against a side heavily favoured to dominate them.
"[Eddie Jones has] the Alex Ferguson syndrome, where if the team has played badly or something has not gone quite right, then you throw as many stones as possible in as many directions as possible, and with it, the deflection comes and we start talking about different rules," the 44-year-old said.
"Italy have played England 18 times in the Six Nations. They have now lost 18 times in the Six Nations. The average deficit comes between 25 and 40, sometimes it's been more, sometimes it's been a little bit closer.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and over again and expecting different results. Conor could have come and played the normal way and done the same thing that you see and lost by 40 or 50 and be called 'plain Italy'.
"What they did, they called it 'Fox' - 'Volpe' in Italian. [Edoardo] Gori and [Giorgio] Bronzini were the two nine's who were the main implementers of this plan, they were fantastic at implementing this plan, it was the brainchild of Brendan Venter [Italy's defence coach].
"When they lost 63-10 to Ireland a few weeks ago, they felt Ireland were offside on occasion, and the referee explained to them 'if it's just a tackle, there is no offside', so they went away and hatched this plan, and they came up with it, and they stuck to it, and they rolled the dice."
Greenwood went on to voice his disagreement regarding Jones' comments referring to Chappell's infamous underarm bowl of 1981.
"I don't think it's a case of bowling an underarm when you need a six off the last ball, I think it's a case of using the laws. When they had the ball, they wanted to play, they didn't kick and chase and set up another area where they could stop England playing.
"They tried to play. They scored a really good try with [Michele] Campagnaro. [Giovanbattista] Venditti's was a little lucky with a bounce off the post, but he was savvy enough to chase a penalty kick.
"They created opportunities, so I think Eddie was frustrated because he gets to coach the team for 10 games a year as an international coach, and one of those games he hasn't really seen his team play because he came across something that stopped them playing.
"I do agree, we don't want to see every game done like that, but the point of coaching is to come up with something your opponents don't see.
"There's an issue that needs fixing, but this is David vs Goliath, and David came up with a plan and he nearly toppled Goliath.
"Does that mean David is a cheat? No, it means David took a catapult and he did it slightly differently."