Sun 20 Nov 2022 | 12:32

Jones turns his sights on 'brutal' Boks

Jones turns his sights on 'brutal' Boks
Sun 20 Nov 2022 | 12:32
Jones turns his sights on 'brutal' Boks
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REACTION: England coach Eddie Jones has already turned his sights on South Africa, after his team produced an astonishing fightback from 6-25 down with nine minutes left against New Zealand to finish all square (25-all) in a remarkable encounter at Twickenham.

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South Africa will arrive at Twickenham this coming Saturday having endured a tough November.

Following narrow defeats to Ireland (16-19) and France (26-30), the Springboks bounced back with a 63-21 hammering of a willing Italy in Genoa.

The Boks, after a laboured first half, leading just by six points (18-13) at the break, scored seven second-half tries to pull away in the second period.

It was a five-try blitz in 20 minute period after half-time that took the sting out of the home team.

It all adds up to what Jones expects will be a bruising encounter against a team they defeated with a late Marcus Smith kick last November to clinch a 27-26 win.

The England results in 2022 are not in that same category.

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They have lost to Argentina, beaten Japan and drawn with the All Blacks.

“It is going to be a different game again,” Jones told a post-match media briefing.

“South Africa played a little bit differently against Italy, played a little bit differently against France, but I think they will go back to the Springboks game against us.

“We know they have targeted this as the important game of their tour.

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“They don’t like getting beaten, so we will expect a big physical contest.

“Set piece. We were disappointed. We didn’t get an advantage, we were probably shaded by the All Blacks in that area, so we will need to do some good work on our set-piece and just tidy things up for next Saturday.”

Jones also had no complaints over Marcus Smith’s decision to settle for a draw against the All Blacks at the weekend.

England seemed destined for a second defeat of the year-end Tests, following an opening 29-30 loss to Argentina, when New Zealand surged into a 14-0 lead in the first eight minutes – thanks to converted tries flanker Dalton Papali’i and hooker Codie Taylor.

Rieko Ioane crossed for a superb try early in the second half, running three-quarters of the length of the field, before Beauden Barrett’s drop-goal in the 71st minute left New Zealand 19 points in front and on course for victory in the teams’ first meeting since England’s 2019 World Cup semifinal win over the All Blacks.

Barrett, however, was sin-binned in the build-up to a try by England’s Will Stuart and fullback Freddie Steward crossed minutes later to the delight of a capacity crowd of over 81,000.

Replacement prop Stuart completed the remarkable recovery when he forced his way over for a second try on the stroke of full-time, with Smith adding the tieing conversion.

But the flyhalf was booed by some home fans when, instead of going for a win, he kicked into touch with the last play of an enthralling game.

“It is always up to players mate,” England coach Jones told reporters.

“I trust their decision-making. I am not on the field. I don’t have access to them. I just trust their decision.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t win the game but a draw is a draw and with the dominance they had in the first half, we could have fallen away.

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‘Pulverised’

“When you get absolutely pulverised by them – like we were in the first half — and you don’t stay in the fight, you can get blown away even more.

“We stayed in the fight, which I think the leadership of the team was outstanding. Owen [Farrell] did a great job in his 100th cap with [Ellis] Genge and Jack Nowell.

“The crowd were absolutely fantastic, which definitely lifted the players, so we are grateful to the 81,641 that were there. I don’t know what happened to the other 349!

“They will be kicking themselves but we hope there is 82,000 next week complete because it will be a hell of a game [against world champions South Africa],” added Jones, England’s coach when they lost the 2019 World Cup final to the Springboks.

England scrumhalf Jack van Poortvliet, playing in just his sixth Test, had a difficult match but Jones said the 21-year-old would be better for the experience.

“Brilliant young player and that is one of the best games for him where things don’t go well and you have to battle through,” Jones said of Van Poortvliet.

“And that’s the best 40 I’ve seen Marcus play in Test rugby. Aggressive, decisive and wanted to own the game, not as an individual but part of the team, so I thought that was a big step forward for the young man.”

Sources: RugbyPass & AFP

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