Jones, always quick with a line or a punchy comeback, started his mindgames in an open taunt to the Springboks back in June when they rolled the Wallabies over in their own outback.
Many said that Jones’s England would be the ones to defeat the then undefeatable All Blacks this year - something that no longer needs doing - but Jones rather rested his sites on a wounded Springbok who barely limped away from an Irish assault midyear.
Jones was the tactician that helped a determined Jake White cross the line in 2007 as the little Aussie beamed while John Smit hoisted the Web Ellis Cup into the Parisian air. He was the same man who headed East, far East, to turnaround the fortunes of a little Island with a passion for rugby, but without the ability. Jones again picked apart the Spingboks’ strengths with his Japanese team and in turn created history on a dark day in Brighton.
Now, the same man has again got a shot at derailing the Springboks, a team in turmoil. Jones has given the English such confidence that it borders on arrogance, but deservedly so, and to their betterment according to former prop Alex Corbisiero.
“What Eddie has done well with England is honing their mindset and developing their ruthlessness. They have a bit of arrogance that they play with now,” Corbisiero said.
Scrumhalf Danny Care has also echoed the words “ruthless” and “Jones” in the same breath as he talks about the intensity of the practice sessions under the Australian.
“It is cut-throat, but it is the same as what it is like on a Saturday - you very rarely get second chances, so you make sure it is as realistic as possible. Eddie puts you under mental pressure because we are going up against one of the toughest sides in the world,” Care said.
Indeed, there have been concerns that practices are so realistic that it has led to a few stars injuring themselves so badly that they will not play a part in this series.
The man on the other side, Allister Coetzee, openly admits it will be a physical encounter - the same thing that used to be uttered by the opposition before they faced South Africa not too long ago.
“As Eddie says, you’ve got to match South Africa’s physicality,” Coetzee told reporters at South Africa’s London hotel this week. “It will be a physical battle, I can guarantee you that.”
Original source: Get set for physical battle at Twickenham