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England vs South Africa: Eddie Jones urges his young pack to face the power of the Boks

This was a different kind of mind game. It was more about Eddie Jones calling to arms at his own forwards rather than firing a shot through the bows of the menacing Springboks.

England’s head coach appointed his team on Thursday to face the heavyweight world champions and was quick to challenge the group he had selected.

Some standout men are missing, notably two great prostitutes and two pedigree loose-headed pillars, but Jones wants the chosen men to rise to heights of defiant ferocity.

Eddie Jones has left the glove to his England players and faces the Springboks

Eddie Jones has left the glove to his England players and faces the Springboks

So he created a cause, stating that the Boks regarded the English forwards as “weak” when they met in the World Cup final in Yokohama two years ago. It didn’t take long for doubts to be widely expressed as to whether any South African player or coach had ever expressed disrespectful opinions about England’s pack, but that was not the point. Jones had created a cause.

He conjured up memories of another episode during the 2019 World Cup, when the Australian speculated that the All Blacks may have sent spies to observe England in training, ahead of the semi-final match between the teams. Again, doubts were expressed, but there was a commotion and as a consequence, New Zealand was put to the sword. The ploy worked.

Perhaps that was about generating a siege mentality and making the opposition uncomfortable, while this tactic tries to ignite a raging inferno in the ranks of England’s forwards. Perhaps this pregame strategy will pay off as well.

Establishing his position Thursday, after naming a group that included rookies Bevan Rodd and Jamie Blamire in the front row, Jones said: ‘You have to get stuck. There is no way to escape the fight. Physicality is an important part of test rugby. If you look at the history of South Africa and England, they have a 65 percent win record and that’s probably based on their physique.

Jones (center) claimed that the Boks regarded the English forwards as 'weak' when they met in the World Cup final in Yokohama two years ago, in which South Africa prevailed.

Jones (center) claimed that the Boks regarded the English forwards as 'weak' when they met in the World Cup final in Yokohama two years ago, in which South Africa prevailed.

Jones (center) claimed that the Boks regarded the English forwards as ‘weak’ when they met in the World Cup final in Yokohama two years ago, in which South Africa prevailed.

‘They said after the World Cup final, where they beat us fairly, that they knew where our weaknesses were and were hinting that our front group was weak. After the World Cup final, their captain, Siya Kolisi, said he knew how to beat us. Their game is all about physicality, so the implication is that they can go over our front pack.

But our group of English forwards will not be weak on Saturday. We will have 82,000 people supporting that package and we are looking forward to that contest from the start. We will deliver a strong, energetic, energetic and aggressive display of our package. We are looking forward to facing them in that physical aspect. No team is unbeatable.

“South Africa is a very experienced team and they know how to handle emotion well. They proved it at the 2019 World Cup and they proved it in the Lions series. There is always the possibility that it will boil too much. One or two of the players might lose it a bit, and then it becomes like Covid – contagious. But you can only do that by pushing them. We intend to do that. ‘

Jones admitted that the overwhelming task for his team against the powerful and motivated visitors of Jacques Nienaber is to “take away their power.”

Courtney Lawes will be the captain of the flanker side in the absence of Owen Farrell

Courtney Lawes will be the captain of the flanker side in the absence of Owen Farrell

Courtney Lawes will be the captain of the flanker side in the absence of Owen Farrell

England will have to do it without several unavailable key men: injured prostitutes Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jamie George, isolator Ellis Genge and the out-of-favor Vunipola brothers Billy and Mako.

When asked how Newcastle hooker Blamire is likely to face this momentous occasion, the head coach said: ‘He’s ready for the fight. The whole team is ready for the fight. I have never seen a team so ready to play against South Africa. This South African team is the best team in the world right now, so we have a great opportunity to prove ourselves.

“Someone like Rodd was a third-choice mainstay in the summer and now he’s a starting loose head. We don’t know how good these guys will be, but they have a chance to show how good they are now.

“Whatever they do on Saturday, they will be better in the future. This is a young team and when you are young you have that adventurous spirit. That’s what I see in this team, a huge adventurous spirit. ‘

For England rookies, this will be new territory and a level of intensity they may not have experienced before. For Jones and the players involved in that fateful November night in the Far East, Saturday’s game has a different dimension.

Jones says Jamie Blamire (above) is 'ready for the fight' after being named in the starting XV

Jones says Jamie Blamire (above) is 'ready for the fight' after being named in the starting XV

Jones says Jamie Blamire (above) is ‘ready for the fight’ after being named in the starting XV

“Personally, you never forget it,” Jones said. And the players who played that final never forget it. It is with you all your life. At the moment, the 2019 World Cup is not an important memory that I have, but that does not mean that I still do not wake up in the morning and think about it. It’s a scar you’ll have for the rest of your life. ‘

So is this an English quest for revenge? “Not at all,” he added. ‘We did not get the World Cup back. We did not get a gold medal back.

“So this game is about this South African team that is number 1 in the world and we are number 3. They think we have a weak group of forwards. We’ll see it on Saturday. ‘

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