England head coach Eddie Jones has suggested that Johnny Sexton gets preferential treatment from match officials after claiming that the Ireland out-half "has the bat phone to the referee".

England will travel to the Aviva Stadium for a crunch Six Nations opener against the reigning Grand Slam champions on 2 February. Sexton is currently nursing a knee tendon injury but is expected to be fit for the clash between the rival sides.

"Sexton is a reasonably big player who has the bat phone to the referee," said Jones of the current World Rugby Player of the Year.

"He is the only one allowed to pick up the red phone to talk to the referee. When he talks, the referee listens.

"That is because of his status in the game - you earn that, like [former New Zealand captain] Richie McCaw did."

The England head coach previously said that England out-half Owen Farrell does not get the same level of protection compared to Sexton.

Ahead of England's clash with Ireland in the 2016 Six Nations, Jones also said that Sexton's mother and father might be worried about this long-term health after the injuries he picked up in action against France.

"Sexton is an interesting one, they've talked about him having whiplash injury, which is not a great thing to talk about," the Australian said in 2016.

"I'm sure his mother and father would be worried about that."

Meanwhile, England's Farrell has had surgery on an injured thumb just two weeks before their Six Nations opener in Dublin but is still expected to be fit to play.