Jones was on the receiving end when coach of Australia and had an inside view when assistant coach of the Springbok team who won the 2007 World Cup on the back of their monumental physicality and stone-wall defence.
The shrewd Australian has shown though, most memorably when leading Japan to a stunning upset victory at last year's World Cup, that you don't always have to try to outmuscle the Springboks to beat them.
England have not beaten South Africa for 10 years, in the process seeing off four coaches who all followed the mantra of having to match the most physical team in the game.
Now in charge of an England team not short in the beef department, Jones is nevertheless again plotting a way to get round, rather than through, the men in green in Saturday's Twickenham meeting.
“South African rugby has traditionally been about momentum; big ball carriers getting over the gain line, and nothing's changed,” Jones told reporters on Thursday.
“We knew they would pick a mammoth back row. If you're not 6ft, 6ins you get shot and thrown out the door over there.
“But I think it's funny when people talk about it being a big physical challenge. I told the players today 'if you're not physical in rugby you should be playing volleyball, or curling.'“
Under Jones's guidance Japan combined terrific speed and mobility with remarkable fitness when they shocked the Boks in the pool stage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The Australian says, however, that little from that game applies on Saturday.
“We're a bit different than Japan and psychologically we're in a very different position,” he said.
“There are ways to get to South Africa and I think we'll be smart enough to get to them. Because of the overtness of their physicality they give you opportunities and we'll take them.
“Rugby's not predictable and we're trying to teach the team to be adaptable,” said Jones, who has reunited England's World Cup back row for the first time in his reign but with Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood swapping places either side of Billy Vunipola.
Jones said that South Africa have never really played with a clear open side flanker and even the designated open side wears the number six shirt there instead of the seven the rest of the world uses.
“They don't even number them right,” he said. “Open side is irrelevant - in the modern game you need to be adaptable and flexible.
“You need players from 1-15 to contest the ball and then use the ball and that's what we're working towards.”
Original source: England need to go round, not through Boks - Jones