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Mon 28 Oct 2019 | 01:41

'Rassie is a cunning coach'

Eddie Jones fires brutal parting shot at Warren Gatland
Mon 28 Oct 2019 | 01:41
'Rassie is a cunning coach'

WORLD CUP SPOTLIGHT: England hope to have all bases covered should “cunning” South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus try to spring a tactical surprise in the World Cup final.

While England won through to Saturday’s showpiece match in Yokohama with a dynamic 19-7 win over New Zealand that ended the All Blacks’ eight-year reign as world champions, South Africa ground out a 19-16 semifinal victory over Wales in a turgid set-piece contest dominated by box-kicks.

Nevertheless Jones, who together with England defence coach John Mitchell was among a crowd that saw the Springboks edge out Wales on Sunday, said: “They won a tough semifinal, and when you are in the final of a World Cup you have done a lot of things right.

“They are a massively aggressive physical forward pack, they probably played their stronger team in the second half as opposed to the first. They are going to be a difficult side to beat.”

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Wales were drawn into a kicking contest but if England can replicate the high-tempo yet physical game that stunned the All Blacks they will pose problems for the Springboks.

‘Prepared for the unexpected’

“We are going to enjoy the preparations this week, getting ourselves right,” said Jones, the coach of his native Australia when England beat the Wallabies in the 2003 World Cup Final.

“We know a couple of areas that we think we can expose in them and we’ll make sure we are well-prepared in those areas,” he added.

“Rassie is a cunning coach, a good coach and has done a great job with the Springboks. We’re prepared for the unexpected.”

Jones highlighted the skills of South Africa halfbacks Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard as proof of the variety within the Springboks’ game.

“They can play in different ways. You saw Faf de Klerk do 15-20 box-kicks in the game but we know Pollard is an excellent kicker.

“The way he goal-kicked was fantastic,” said Jones of Pollard’s 14-point haul, which included four penalty goals and a conversion.

“He was smooth, nice touch on the ball and that is a wonderful advantage for them.”

But asked during a news conference on Monday if he had taken many notes while watching the match, Jones reverted to typical wise-cracking form.

“I actually forgot my pen last night so I had to go for the high technology, the iPad, which I’m not that flash on. So there wasn’t too many notes there.”

Saturday’s match is a repeat of the 2007 World Cup Final when Jones was a consultant to the Springbok side that beat England 15-6 in Paris.

And the England coach said he expected South Africa to utilise their traditional forward strength in the climax of this edition.

“We know they can play differently and we’re aware of that, but we also know that they are going to come through the front door.

“There are not many Springbok teams that don’t come through the front door. So we’ve got to be ready at the front door and have enough cover at the back door too.”

Related articles:

What we learned from Bok win
Rankings shake-up after semis
VIDEOS: Boks unite the nation … again
How De Klerk silenced his haters
VIDEO: Don’t expect ‘wonderful tries’ from Springboks
Player Ratings: World Cup hoodoo
Player Ratings: Rassie’s well-oiled machine
Pollard boots Boks to final

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'Rassie is a cunning coach' - england | Rugby365