As we know from the frequency with which he says so, England's rugby coach, the Australian Eddie Jones, is convinced England will "dethrone" the All Blacks or "topple them off their perch" and will - in addition to achieving the world number one ranking - go on to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

There is scarcely a day that goes by when the message is not repeated - if not by Eddie Jones himself, at least by one of his players.

It is as though it is hoped the simple repetition of the mantra will ensure it will come true.

As a tactic, it may have an upside in building team morale and self-confidence, both perhaps in short supply following the debacle of England's last attempt to scale the international rugby heights - but there is an all too obvious downside as well.


In the period that inevitably arises between the beating of the chest and actually delivering on the boasts, there is a danger the coach and the team will seem - to the rest of the world - faintly ridiculous, and if the results do not in the end match the boasts, then you can forget the "faintly".

England supporters and rugby media, however, seem to have no sense of self-preservation or self-awareness. They faithfully report (and seem to accept at face value) the constant assertions that glory is just round the corner.

They constitute a kind of double act with Eddie Jones, behaving rather like performing seals who are tossed fish by their trainer on a regular basis.

Their respective roles are by now well understood. Jones will proclaim - on the basis of nothing in particular - that England is on the verge of being world-beaters, confident his claim will be enthusiastically amplified by the media.

The rugby writers swallow it whole, as do their readers, who are thrilled by the promise their team is about to top the world, and Jones is able to build his image, not as just another Aussie blowhard, but as a miracle-worker in the making.

For All Black supporters who have to endure this constant tub-thumping and forecasts of their impending demotion, the best reaction is perhaps to recognise how far the Jones approach elevates the ABs to the status of rugby's Everest - always there and virtually unconquerable.

When the summit was actually reached, however, the understated Kiwi celebration "we knocked the bastard off", was made by Sir Ed only after the seemingly impossible feat had actually been achieved.

A coach should of course be able to say what he likes to his team, and if that includes floating clouds of glory around their heads, so be it.

The problems arise when the rest of us are privy to the conversation. Jones and his acolytes seem to have no sense of how his breast-beating appears when broadcast to the rest of the world.

We should not of course overlook the real achievements of the Jones coaching stint with England. He has restored self-respect to an English team and rugby public who had to put up with something approaching ridicule following the 2015 World Cup campaign - and England are, after all, now deservedly the second ranked team in the world.

Even that, however, should be viewed against the backdrop of the huge advantages enjoyed by England in terms of player numbers and financial resources.

If a coach cannot do something to make those advantages count, there must be something wrong with him.

In the meantime, and until nirvana is actually arrived at, Jones could deliver one further service to England rugby and to the world game.

As Clement Attlee, the post-war British Prime Minister, famously said in a magisterial rebuke to Harold Laski, "A period of silence from you would be welcome".

If Jones does not follow that advice, another Attlee comment, this time about his decision to demote a member of his Cabinet might get a run. When asked for the reason for his decision, Attlee was commendably brief.

"Not up to the job," he said.

Eddie Jones would be wise, perhaps, to look to what the day of reckoning might bring him.