Eddie Jones says it is "stupid" to think England will not target Ireland's Jonathan Sexton in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.
The health and fitness of the reigning champions' fly-half has been under scrutiny after the 30-year-old, who missed four months of action in 2014 due to repeated concussions, was substituted following a high, late hit by Yoann Maestri in the 10-9 loss to France in Paris earlier this month.
Ireland claimed Sexton had not suffered another concussion but was experiencing symptoms of a 'whiplash' style injury, prompting a debate about the Leinster's man readiness to play and the ethics of singling him out for special treatment.
Speaking at a media conference on Thursday, England's Australian coach did not miss an opportunity to add to the uncertainty affecting the opposition camp, questioning Sexton's wellbeing but also rubbishing suggestions he should not be tested when in the firing line this weekend.
"Sexton is an interesting one, they've talked about him having a whiplash injury which is not a great thing to talk about," Jones said.
"I'm sure his mother and father would be worried about that. Hopefully, the lad's alright on Saturday to play.
"We target players all the time. That's part of rugby, is it not? There's 15 players out there. Are we supposed to not run at one player? 'Hang on, hang on, he's got a red dot on his head, we don't run at him.'"
Pressed on the morals of creative players being nullified through strong-arm tactics, Jones issued a swift rebuke.
"Sorry, can I just go back to that Sexton question, I think that's a really stupid question," he said.
"Rugby's a game of 15 players on the field. When we're attacking, we're attacking weak defenders ... why would we run at the strongest defender?
"I'm not saying Sexton is a weak defender, maybe France did. We're going to be targeting players in the Ireland side. We want to win and you win a game of rugby by attacking their weak points and to say that's unfair is just ridiculous. You shouldn't be asking those questions."
England have won their first two matches of the tournament against Scotland and then Italy, while Ireland have opened their defence of the title with a draw against Wales, followed by the defeat at Stade de France last time out.