Eddie Jones insists England must find another level to claim the World Cup against South Africa on Saturday – despite producing one of the greatest performances in their history to defeat the All Blacks.
England will seek to avenge their 2007 World Cup final defeat against the Springboks after South Africa’s 19-16 win over Wales in the semi-final -yesterday. Jones was adamant his players -cannot be satisfied with their campaign unless they finish the job. Jones has also warned his players he may make changes to his side, suggesting he could break up the George Ford-Owen Farrell axis again.
The coach has already been forced into a change with Willi Heinz ruled out due to a hamstring injury and Ben Spencer called up in his place. The -Saracens scrum-half, who has just three caps to his name, was due to arrive in Japan today and, with Ben Youngs the only other No 9 in Jones’s squad, he seems certain to make his World Cup debut in the final. There also remain lingering concerns over Farrell and Jonny May, both of whom suffered dead legs against the All Blacks, while Kyle Sinckler and Anthony Watson were also due to be further assessed yesterday.
Despite their injury worries, -England will go into the final as the favourites, having inflicted a first World Cup defeat on New Zealand for 12 years, and having done so in dominant fashion. It was a sixth career victory for Jones over the All Blacks – his first with England – and while he is contracted to the Rugby Football Union until 2021 the clamour in Australia for him to return and take over the Wallabies grew louder yesterday.
After Wales’s elimination Warren Gatland could not resist one last dig at England, suggesting that they may have peaked too early. “We have seen teams play their final in the semi-final and don’t turn up for the final,” he said. “We will see what England do.” Jones is determined to ensure that does not prove to be the case and while England have moved to the top of the world rankings for the first time since 2004, the message from the head coach was clear.
“We want to be the best in the world and we’re not,” said Jones, who was in attendance to watch South Africa beat Wales alongside his assistant John Mitchell. “We’re not going to be satisfied until we’re the best in the world. We’re going to have to find another level and it’s definitely there.
“We’ve got to play better next week. It’s about making sure no one gets too far ahead of themselves and this team has got no reason to, because we haven’t achieved what we want to achieve. All it’s done is give us another week in the competition.”
Ford and Farrell finished the match as England’s joint top tacklers and while the captain sustained his injury in the first half, Jones said he did not contemplate replacing him. “I think you would have needed a samurai sword to get him off!”
Ford took over the kicking duties and was on target with four penalties following his recall to the side. He was omitted for the quarter-final victory over Australia with Farrell preferred at fly-half and a centre pairing of Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade and Jones hinted he may change tack again.
“[George and Owen] defended well but next week is another situation,” said Jones. “We’ll look at how we need to play and what the opposition are going to bring to the party and then we’ll decide on selection.”
England are due to return to central Tokyo today for their final preparations and will move into the same hotel the Springboks stayed in last week. England have already beaten Argentina, Australia and New Zealand and are bidding to complete the Rugby Championship set.
“It’s just another week,” Jones said. “The -mindset you create during the week is very important. And it’s about not inventing shadows. Everywhere you look, there are shadows, so you have to make sure you are looking at the right shadows. We’ll have a couple of days of recovery. We’ll get stuck into work on Tuesday.”
Source link : https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/oct/27/england-summon-ben-spencer-as-cover-for-rugby-world-cup-final
Publish date : 2019-10-27 22:16:00