Clive Woodward advises Eddie Jones to attempt mind games with Warren Gatland

England v Ireland - RBS Six Nations

Sir Clive Woodward has told England head coach, Eddie Jones, to treat Saturday's Six Nations clash with Wales like a 'World Cup final.'

As well as treating the game like a final, Woodward also suggested that Jones should try to wind up his opposite number, Warren Gatland, in the build-up to the titanic tussle in Cardiff on Saturday.

England and Wales are the only remaining unbeaten teams in Six Nations and should Jones' side come away from the Principality Stadium victorious, they will have a huge chance at achieving the Grand Slam.

Writing for the Daily Mail, Woodward said "given the quality of the England team and the performances in the opening two games, my strategy would be to really build this up."

"Yes England are playing in Cardiff, but if they have aspirations of going to Japan and beating New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and the others on neutral ground then they must go to Cardiff and win. They must put Wales away."

"I would make that very clear to my team as you have to find out how these guys handle the pressure. It’s always easier to be tough on your players when you’re playing well and winning."

Woodward also believes Jones could gain the edge over Gatland during the week and encouraged the England boss to use media mind games to get under the Welsh coach's skin.

"I would try to wind up Warren Gatland this week ahead of the game. I used to love doing that with Eddie Jones before games against Australia as there would always be a response."

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"Nothing nasty, but just try to get a reaction from their camp. I prided myself on trying to get on the front foot against opposition coaches, and not just cop it as the England coach."

"I would definitely bring up the fact that Gatland said that if Wales win their opening game against France then they win the tournament. 'They are obviously favourites because Warren thinks the game is already won,’ or ‘they had their Grand Slam game in Paris,’ things like that."

"Also, make a point of saying you’re surprised about one selection even if you’re not. You don’t want to wind them up too much, but a little to push their buttons is good."

France v Wales - Guinness Six Nations

Another huge factor if England are to be successful, according to Woodward, will involve silencing the Welsh crowd. The Principality Stadium is notorious for its intimidating atmosphere and England will need to use all their quality to hush them down.

"If England concentrate on how they are going to attack and defend, and concentrate 90 per cent on that, they can stun the crowd into silence by the quality of their play."

"This is the biggest game in 2019 before the World Cup kicks off — by a mile. Whoever loses this clash will be in bits on Sunday morning."

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