Sport

Wales 13-6 England: Eddie Jones says Wales are World Cup favourites

England head coach Eddie Jones says Wales are “favourites to win the World Cup” after they secured their rise to the top of the world rankings by beating his side 13-6 in Cardiff.

George North’s try helped Wales to a victory that will see them become world number one for the first time.

England won 33-19 against Warren Gatland’s side in their first World Cup warm-up, but faltered away from home.

“When you go to number one, you’re favourites,” said Australian Jones.

“It was a fantastic World Cup prep game for us. We found out a little bit about ourselves.

“We had to work hard to get back into the game. We had a number of difficult situations – some of them we handled really well and some of them we didn’t handle well.”

New Zealand have been top of the world rankings for 10 years but, despite a 36-0 win against Australia earlier on Saturday, the All Blacks will now drop to second on Monday when the ranking is updated.

But Wales head coach Gatland is remaining calm about the ranking honour.

“It’s nice for a day but we won’t be shouting from the rooftops about it,” the New Zealander said.

“We’ve got to keep things in perspective. Lots of journalists will be out there saying “this is a joke” – probably Kiwi journalists more than anyone! It’s just a number.

“We’re not making a big fuss of it. We’ll keep it in our pocket and go from week to week.”

‘We have options we haven’t shown yet’

North’s try left Jones’ side 10-0 down at half-time and it was the first occasion England had not scored a point in the first half of a Test since a World Cup match against France in 2011.

Jones’ side came close to scoring in Cardiff, but their driving maul let them down as they struggled to find a way through the Wales defence.

The 59-year-old was unperturbed by that though, saying his team want to keep some moves to themselves before their first World Cup match against Tonga on 22 September.

“We set these games up to deliberately practise things,” added Jones. “We’ve got other options five metres from the line that we haven’t shown yet and we won’t show for a while.

“We want to get our team going. It’s a bit easier to defend our maul when they know it’s coming. They did it very well and full credit to Wales.”

Jones had several players unavailable for selection due to injury, but said back rows Sam Underhill and Tom Curry could return for the match against Ireland on 24 August.

Wing Ruaridh McConnochie, who is in the 31-man World Cup squad but is still uncapped, has a “seven to 10 day” muscle strain, so could also be back in time for the Ireland game, but centre Henry Slade and wing Jack Nowell will not be ready for the match at Twickenham.