Warren Gatland has been given a blunt response for Eddie Jones over comments that England may have peaked too early at the World Cup.
Jones has hit back at over suggestions Gatland made ahead of the final between England and South Africa.
The Wales coach questioned whether England might have played their final a game early by flattening New Zealand after his own quest with Wales to be crowned champions was ended by South Africa in Sunday’s other semi-final.
“We have seen in previous World Cups that teams sometimes play their final in semi-finals and don’t always turn up for a final,” said Gatland, whose side face New Zealand in the bronze game on Friday.
Ahead of Saturday’s final at the International Stadium Yokohama, England coach Jones replied: “Send my best wishes to Warren, I hope he enjoys the third-fourth place match!”
New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew has poured cold water on the prospect of Gatland coaching the All Blacks due to his commitment to the British and Irish Lions.
Gatland, who will step down as Wales coach after Friday’s game against the All Blacks, has signed to coach the Lions in South Africa in 2021 and is also returning to New Zealand to coach the Waikato Chiefs in Super Rugby.
Current All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is set to step down after the same bronze match but Tew said: “I think to coach the All Blacks and the Lions in a four-year period would be impossible.
New Zealand will set up a four-member panel to interview candidates after the World Cup and hope to announce Hansen’s replacement by Christmas, added Tew, who will be succeeded by Mark Robinson at the end of the year.
The All Blacks’ semi-final defeat to England has been a tough pill to swallow for New Zealand fans accustomed to success after back-to-back World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015, but Tew urged the nation to move on.
“This is sport. The best team won and it wasn’t us. I am very proud of this team and how they carry themselves,” he said.
“I think people should take a deep breath and let it go. Everyone is hurting. These are not easy days.”