Eddie Jones reckons the Irish kingpin Johnny Sexton has a "bat phone to the referee" - just like Richie McCaw.

Legendary All Blacks captain McCaw may be well retired, but he still appears to loom large in Jones' mind.

The England and former Wallabies coach, who was also a Springboks assistant, has also come up with a bizarre tactic on the eve of the Six Nations.

"Sexton is a reasonably big player who has the bat phone to the referee," Jones said at a media day in London.


"He is the only one allowed to pick up the red phone to talk to the referee.

"When he [Sexton] talks, the referee listens. That is because of his status in the game – you earn that, like Richie McCaw did."

Of more interest to opposing coaches, Jones said he was considering using outside back Jack Nowell as a "ninth forward".

Jones said: "Someone like Jack Nowell is such a good player that he could play a number of positions for us. Why not try it?"

"If you look at world rugby in terms of breakdown skills, he would be one of the highest skilled players.

"It might be that at the end of the game, he can play as a ninth forward for us. It gives you that flexibility."

Jones said he was inspired to think outside the square by a conversation with Australian hockey great Ric Charlesworth, a former New Zealand Cricket high performance manager.

But England's World Cup winning coach Clive Woodward quickly shot the idea down, describing it as a "huge own goal".


"This was his first press conference of 2019, a massive year for English rugby and he's discussing something completely irrelevant," Woodward told his Daily Mail readers.

"It may be Nowell is going to play more centrally without the ball rather than being left out wide. But, again, why telegraph this? Ireland will be tracking him now."