Fever pitch for England coach Jones

England rugby coach Eddie Jones has given a huge vote of confidence in the new all-weather pitch that is ushering in a new era at Preston Grasshopers.

Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 7:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 8:41 am
England coach Eddie Jones with some of the youngsters at Preston Grasshoppers on the opening of their pitch

Forty-eight hours after arriving back from Argentina to look at facilities and stadia for England’s forthcoming tour there, Jones was at Lightfoot Green to over see a training session featuring some talented teenagers from Hoppers, Garstang and Fleetwood.

And certainly the youngsters who thronged to the ground for the milestone occasion were thrilled to see him.

They clamoured for his autograph at pitch-side - some wanted his autograph on their boots, while one boy who had his hand signed exclaimed: “I’m not going to wash now!”

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Jones hailed the new pitch as being ‘fantastic’ and stressed the importance of grass-roots clubs like Preston, who in the past have produced internationals such as Wade Dooley, Will Greenwood, Paul Grayson and Steve Borthwick, who is now a key member of his England back-room team.

Jones, due to name his Six Nations Championship squad on Friday, said: “Preston Grasshoppers is a great old club.

“I have had a lot of involvement with Steve Borthwick and he has told me a lot about the club - all his childhood rugby was here and it is great testament to the club how well he has done.

“He is a fantastic rugby man, hard, honest, hard-working and sincere and it’s nice to see him being rewarded with a coaching job with the Lions. It must feel very special for Preston as a club.”

The new pitch could get its first test on when Hoppers’ play Scunthorpe on Saturday, subject to confirmation.