‘We will see it as a final’: Eddie Jones challenges England to secure victory against South Africa in their first clash since suffering World Cup heartbreak two years ago… but he will have to wait to discover whether Owen Farrell will be available
- Eddie Jones has called upon his England side to overcome South Africa
- Sides last met at 2019 Rugby World Cup final in Japan, where South Africa won
- Jones faces a wait to find out whether Owen Farrell with be fit to feature
- Jamie George will also undergo a scan after he was taken off at half time
- Jones believes that the axis of Marcus Smith and Farrell will develop well
Eddie Jones has challenged his England players to secure the scalp of the world champion Springboks next week but faces a nervous wait over the fitness of Owen Farrell.
Skipper Farrell limped off in the second half of Saturday night’s victory over Australia, with hooker Jamie George also withdrawn at half time.
Both players will undergo scans before the autumn finale against South Africa, with Jones desperate to end the campaign on a high.
Eddie Jones has challenged England to beat South Africa after overcoming Australia
England will play 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,’ said Jones. ‘It an important Test and we want to finish off the autumn well — it is the final game of the autumn and we will see it as a final and we want to take them on. We will have to play differently to beat them. It’s the final game and we want to go into the Six Nations with a South African scalp.’
With the double injury blow adding to the covid-enforced withdrawals of Joe Marler and Ellis Genge, Jones praised the resilience of his team as they booked an eighth straight victory over Australia.
‘We had two Covid positives, we had a young prop come in on Thursday and made him a starting guy and we lost Jamie at half-time,’ he added.
Jones faces an anxious wait regarding the fitness of Owen Farrell, who injured his ankle
ALAIN ROLLAND’S REF WATCH
Both yellow cards were the correct decisions. There was clear contact to Jamie George’s head by Tommy Wright — and it was foul play — but there were enough mitigating factors for it not to be a red card.
Angus Bell then clearly lifted Courtney Lawes’s 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 a red.
‘Kyle Sinckler got a bad dead leg in the first half so we had to battle hard and I was really pleased with the attitude of the players. We predicted more of a free-flowing game, as Australia like to play, but it turned out to be a heavy penalty game and I was pleased how we adapted.
‘We are going to need to be better for sure, especially in terms of the penalty count because that’s an area against South Africa where we would be in a fair bit of trouble. We are looking good in attack and it is just about maintaining that momentum and adding to it.’
Jones will be desperate for another opportunity to test out his new midfield axis of Marcus Smith and Farrell, who started well before the game broke down.
Jones believes that the partnership of Marcus Smith and Farrell will be a fruitful one
‘They are a bit like two opening batsmen who haven’t batted together and are facing the new ball for the first time,’ added Jones.
‘Every time they bat together after this they will be better but I thought our first try was one of the best I have seen from an England side.
‘They have both got to get picked but the competition in this squad is red hot. We know Owen is a good player. That was his 100th Test including the Lions and he is getting close to 100 with England.
‘We know he is a bloody good player and we know Smith will be a good player if he keeps working hard.’