SCOTTISH Rugby has condemned the abuse suffered by England coach Eddie Jones at the hands of a number of Scotland fans as “disgusting behaviour”.
Jones revealed on Wednesday that he feared for his safety after being targeted with verbal and physical abuse while catching a train from Edinburgh to Manchester on the morning after England’s Calcutta Cup defeat at Murrayfield.
The Australian travelled alone via standard class to be a guest of Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford for Manchester United’s Premier League game with Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, before receiving similar treatment on the final leg of his journey from Manchester to London.
He has now resolved to not use public transport again.
WARNING: Video contains very strong language
VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: England coach Eddie Jones being verbally abused as he arrived in Manchester on Sunday after rail journey from Edinburgh. Disgusting after he was good enough to pose for photos. Now says doesn’t feel safe on public transport. (Warning: contains offensive language) pic.twitter.com/z2RetgKZOG
— Dan Roan (@danroan) March 1, 2018
“The disgusting behaviour of those involved does not represent the values of our sport or its fans,” a Scottish Rugby statement read.
“The dignity Eddie and the England team showed on Saturday is in stark contrast to this ugly incident.”
Video footage obtained by the BBC’s sports editor Dan Roan shows Jones posing for selfies with fans, who then turn on him.
“I’m a human being. I don’t consider myself any different from anyone else, so for me to travel on public transport I thought was OK. But I’ll make sure I won’t in future. It’s as simple as that,” Jones said on Wednesday.
“I can’t because it was shown on Sunday what happens when I do. That’s the world we live in. I was massively surprised. It wasn’t comfortable.”
When asked whether the abuse was physical or verbal, Jones replied: “A bit of both.
“It’s part of the challenge. As an Australian coaching England, there were always going to be challenges and that’s just one of them.”
Jones casts his experience in the light of an interview given last week by Scotland and British and Irish Lions great Gavin Hastings, while also referencing prop Simon Berghan’s pre-Calcutta Cup match claim that “everyone hates England”.
“As a supporter of one of his opponents you just want to rub his face in the dirt,” said Hastings, who won 67 caps in a distinguished career spanning nine years.
Jones believes that Hastings and Berghan should have chosen their words more carefully due to the influence they wield.
“It magnifies that if you’re in a position of responsibility you’ve got to be careful what you say,” he said.
“Because if you talk about hate and you talk about rubbing peoples’ nose in the dirt, and all those sorts of things, it incites certain behaviours and are they the sorts of behaviours that we want to see?”
Part of Jones’ frustration with the events of Sunday is born out of his willingness to engage with supporters.
“I never knock back a request for a selfie unless I’m racing to somewhere. So I try and do the right thing by the fans, but if this happens then you’ve got to have a look at your own safety,” he said.
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