Eddie Jones has hit back at the Springboks’ suggestion after the 2019 Rugby World Cup final that England’s weaknesses were in their forward pack.
England take on South Africa this Saturday for the first time since the two sides met in Yokohama two years ago, when the Springboks comfortably came out on top.
South Africa dominated the English in the scrum, partially due to Kyle Sinckler’s early injury-forced substitution, while they also won the physical battle in open play, which laid the ground work for their 20-point victory.
Jones was speaking at a press conference after naming his match-day squad to face South Africa, and expressed his side’s eagerness to show their physicality against the world’s number one-ranked side.
Eddie Jones backs England to match the Springboks’ physicality.
“There is no getting away from the fight, but having said that, there are opportunities to hurt them in other ways and we have got to be brave enough to take those opportunities to hurt them in other ways,” Jones said, via RugbyPass.
“Physicality is an important part of test rugby and if you look at the history of South Africa and England rugby they have got a 65 per cent winning record and it is probably based on their physicality.
“They said after the World Cup final, when they beat us fair and square, that they knew how to play us, they knew where our weaknesses were and they were implying that our forward pack is weak.
“Well, our forwards are not weak and we will have an opportunity on Saturday to show that, so we are looking forward to taking them on in the physicality. We are also looking forward to trying to expose the weaknesses in their game, which they do have.“
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 18, 2021
England’s youthful front row will be pushed to their limits.
Several front row players are unavailable to England for Saturday’s game against South Africa, in an area that the visitors will be looking to exploit at Twickenham Stadium.
Ellis Genge has been ruled out after testing positive for covid-19, Joe Marler has only just returned from a period of self-isolation, hookers Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jamie George are unavailable due to injury, while Mako Vunipola has been left out in the cold by Jones.
As a result, once-capped Bevan Road will start at loose head, while four-times capped Jamie Blamire will start at hooker, with replacement hooker Nic Dolly set to make his England debut off the bench.
The Springboks, on the other hand, have six proven world class front row players to call upon, with Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi and Trevor Nyakane starting, while Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch will be sprung from the bench.