Jonny Wilkinson and George Smith are set to help England on an informal basis during the Six Nations, the Rugby Football Union has confirmed.
Speaking at the launch of the Old Mutual Wealth Kids First programme, head coach Eddie Jones was delighted to have the help of the duo.
He also reacted to the news that wing Chris Ashton has received a 10-week ban for making contact with the eyes of Ulster’s Luke Marshall in last weekend’s Champions Cup game. Ashton has the right to appeal against the decision.
“It’s disappointing for Chris,” Jones told englandrugby.com.
“Obviously we’ve got to wait and see if he appeals, and then if he appeals, what happens to the appeal and we’ll take it from there and then we’ll worry about a replacement.”
Wilkinson meanwhile broke the hearts of Jones’s Australia team when he kicked the winning drop-goal in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, but the coach was keen to bring him on board.
“We’ve got an informal relationship with Jonny that he’ll come in at various times to help our players with their kicking,” he said.
“It’s not a formal relationship but we’re very grateful that hes’ going to lend his considerable skill.”
Australian flanker Smith was coached by Jones during the Rugby World Cup in 2003 and won 111 caps for the Wallabies. He is now making his mark at Wasps in the Premiership and, at the age of 35, is still rated as one of the best players in the world at the breakdown.
“George Smith, I’ve known since he was 19-years-old, we first signed him out of club rugby at the Brumbies so I’ve had a long relationship with him, he’s going to come and give us a hand with breakdown skills,” Jones revealed.