Eddie Jones has dismissed claims made against him by Danny Cipriani – that he badgered him with inappropriate questions about his former girlfriend, TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher – as ‘absurd’ and ‘a fabrication’.
The former England head coach, now back in charge of his native Australia, has responded to allegations made in Cipriani’s autobiography, Who Am I? In it, the ex-England fly-half gave an account of a conversation over dinner in 2016, saying: ‘Eddie comes over and sits next to me.
‘The first words out of his mouth are, “Mate, doesn’t Kirsty Gallacher live around here? Haven’t you sh***ed her? What’s she like?”.
‘I’ve just split up with Kirsty, after a short relationship, and it’s not something I want to talk to my head coach about, or anyone else for that matter.
‘Eddie keeps pecking, like a horny teenager, and in the end I tell him straight, “Eddie, I don’t want to talk about this, it’s making me uncomfortable”.’
Eddie Jones (pictured) has dismissed Danny Cipriani’s claims that he asked inappropriate questions about his ex-girlfriend, the TV presenter Kristy Gallacher
The former England star (right) and Gallacher (left) dated for a short time
Cipriani and Gallacher pictured together before they started dating at an event back in 2008
Cipriani claimed Jones allegedly asked questions of a sexual nature about Gallacher
Jones is busy preparing his Wallabies squad for a World Cup opener against Georgia on Saturday, but when contacted by Mail Sport, he refuted Cipriani’s remarks, saying: ‘We didn’t have a close relationship, so I’m hardly going to engage in a conversation like that with him.
‘To be quite frank, it’s a complete fabrication. We didn’t select him. When players don’t get selected, they always have an axe to grind – we know that.
‘He’s selling a book, so nothing surprises me when players want to sell books. It’s absurd. It’s almost too absurd to talk about.
‘I think it’s very sad for him that he feels he has to make something up to sell his book.’
When pressed on whether he had ever spoken to Cipriani in any way about Kirsty Gallacher, Jones said: ‘I cannot remember that.’
And asked if he was upset by the allegations, he added: ‘It’s just f**king nonsense. If anyone is stupid enough to pay attention to it then good luck to them.’
Jones is notoriously tough on his players and uncompromising in his approach, but he categorically denied speaking to Cipriani about any sexual-related matters.
‘That’s hardly the sort of language I would use,’ he said.
‘It’s not how I speak to players. In all the years I’ve coached, there would be very few conversations like that with players.
‘It’s not to say I haven’t had a conversation like that, but there would have been very few – and certainly not with Cipriani.’
The former England boss said he did not have a close relationship with Cipriani
Jones dismissed Cipriani’s allegations as ‘complete fabrications’ and ‘absolute nonsense’
Over all his years of coaching, Jones has often been antagonistic and confrontational, but he denied ever being accused of inappropriate behaviour such as this before. ‘I can never recall it,’ he said.
‘And if there was anything, it would have been in the newspapers.
‘I’ve learned to keep an appropriate distance. You don’t coach for the amount of time that I’ve coached without keeping the appropriate distance.
‘I get criticised for being too hard – now someone is trying to make out that I’m too familiar with the players. Work out what you want me to be!’
His player-coach relationship with Cipriani was known to have been tense and strained, but Jones claimed that the last contact between them had been cordial, in sad circumstances.
He said: ‘I sent him a note when his previous girlfriend committed suicide, to ask if he was alright, just out of courtesy.’
Jones is getting the Wallabies ready for their Rugby World Cup opener against Georgia