“The mental side is how you are thinking about the game, and the tactical side is just the employment of those thoughts.”
Eddie Jones has revealed how he manipulated the media into putting pressure on New Zealand ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final.
England dominated against the All Blacks in Yokohama, scoring a try through Manu Tuilagi within two minutes while they controlled both territory and possession for the duration of the 80 minutes.
New Zealand were the reigning World Champions at the time, having won in both 2011 and 2015 but never really threatened England in a surprisingly one-sided encounter.
How to react to defeat.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 17, 2021
The England head coach was speaking to The High Performance Podcast about the days leading up to the match, explaining how his side got into the heads of their opponents.
“The mental side is how you are thinking about the game, and the tactical side is just the employment of those thoughts.
“I’ve got a guy called David Pembroke in Australia who cultivates the media strategy. And I don’t follow it 100 per cent, as some of the ideas are way out here, but he wants to control the environment.
“The best one was for that New Zealand semi [at the 2019 Rugby World Cup]. We immediately went out on attack at the start of the week; we wanted the New Zealand media to put pressure onto the New Zealand team.
“We called the journalists ‘fans with keyboards’, and he created the idea of circling the All Blacks during their haka,” Jones explained.
Coaching the ‘perfect game.’
While England have endured a shaky start to the 2021 Six Nations Championship, Jones has not stopped striving for perfection from his players.
The Australian coach revealed that one of his priorities is to “coach the perfect game”.
“Now, in a professional game of rugby if you can control 50 minutes of the game, you will win the game, and I want a team that can control it for 80 minutes.
“Imagine going out there and you are impossible to play against. Impossible.
“When you’ve got the ball, they can’t get it off you, when they’ve got the ball, they’ve got so much pressure they are giving it back to you and that’s unrelenting. That would be fascinating,” Jones commented.