‘We’ll see it as a final’: Eddie Jones challenges England to secure victory against South Africa in their first clash since a World Cup heartbreak two years ago… but he’ll have to wait to find out if Owen Farrell will be available
- Eddie Jones has called on his English side to conquer South Africa
- Sides last met at the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final in Japan, where South Africa won
- Jones faces a wait to find out if Owen Farrell is fit to appear
- Jamie George will also undergo a scan after being taken away at halftime
- Jones believes Marcus Smith and Farrell’s ashes will develop well
Eddie Jones has challenged his England players to secure the scalp of World Springboks champion next week, but is anxiously awaiting Owen Farrell’s condition.
Skipper Farrell limped off in the second half of Saturday night’s win over Australia, while hooker Jamie George also pulled back at halftime.
Both players are undergoing scans for the fall finals against South Africa, with Jones desperately looking for an end to the campaign.
Eddie Jones has challenged England to beat South Africa after beating Australia
England will face South Africa for the first time since losing the 2019 World Cup final in Japan
“They are the World Cup champions and we are not,” Jones said. “It’s an important test and we want to finish the autumn well – it’s the last game of the autumn and we will see it as a final and we want to include them. We will have to play differently to beat them. It’s the last game and we want to go into the Six Nations with a South African head.’
With the double injury contributing to the covid-forced withdrawals of Joe Marler and Ellis Genge, Jones praised his team’s resilience as they recorded an eighth straight win over Australia.
“We had two Covid positives, we had a young prop that came in on Thursday and made him a starting man and we lost Jamie at halftime,” he added.
Jones faces an anxious wait over Owen Farrell’s condition, who injured his ankle
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Both yellow cards were the right decisions. There was obviously contact with Jamie George’s head by Tommy Wright – and it was foul play – but there were enough extenuating factors to make it not a red card.
Angus Bell then clearly lifted Courtney Lawes’ feet above the horizontal, but did not bring him down safely. Lawes landed on his side, so it’s a yellow card. If he had landed on his head or neck, it would have been red.
“Kyle Sinckler had a bad dead leg in the first half so we had to fight hard and I was very happy with the attitude of the players. We predicted more of a free flowing game, the way Australia likes to play, but it turned out to be a tough penalty game and I was happy how we adapted.
“We will definitely have to be better, especially in terms of penalty, because that is an area against South Africa where we would have quite a few problems. We’re looking good on offense and it’s all about maintaining and adding to that momentum.”
Jones will be desperate for another chance to test his new midfield axis of Marcus Smith and Farrell, who started playing long before the game started.
Jones believes Marcus Smith and Farrell’s partnership will be fruitful
“They’re a bit like two starting batsmen who haven’t batted together and are looking at the new ball for the first time,” Jones added.
“Every time they hit each other after this they’ll be better, but I thought our first try was one of the best I’ve seen from an English side.
“They both have to be chosen, but the competition in this team is very hot. We know Owen is a good player. That was his 100th test including the Lions and he is close to 100 with England.
“We know he’s a damn good player and we know Smith will be a good player if he keeps working hard.”