Boks fear the Jones factor

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 21:24

INTERVIEW: Eddie Jones did a job on the Springboks as Japan coach at the World Cup last year and he again lies in wait at Twickenham next month.

Struggling South Africa coach Allister Coetzee heaped praise on the high-riding England and their coach, Jones, ahead of a November 12 showdown in London.

"I have studied all the England Tests in Australia [this past] June and they played really well," said the Springbok coach, as he summarised a 3-0 series triumph for the visitors.

"They focused on a few areas and got better as the tour progressed," he told a media conference in Johannesburg - as the national squad gathered for a four-match tour of Europe during November.

"Eddie has done a great job," Coetzee said of Australia-born England coach Eddie Jones, who took charge when Stuart Lancaster quit after the 2015 World Cup hosts made a first-round exit.

"There is a lot of belief in the team and they have a monstrous and very physical pack. They are also very solid in defence.

"Several backs can kick the ball a mile to put the opposition under territorial pressure and ask them to run from deep.

"They also have in Owen Farrell a 95 percent successful goal-kicker.

"That is what we will be up against," admitted Coetzee when the Springboks defend a 12-Test unbeaten record against England.

But Coetzee allayed fears among South African supporters and media that a team which has won only four of nine Tests this year face a thrashing at Twickenham.

"The prospects seem gloomy, but we will plan and prepare well. We will always give ourselves a chance, even when facing the second best team in the world."

* Meanwhile Coetzee dismissed media claims that he had fallen out with Toulon No.8 Duane Vermeulen, whose Test appearances this season have been severely curtailed by injuries.  

"Duane called me to say: 'Coach, based on my last outing with the Boks, I was not fit enough and my reputation took a bit of a knock.'

"He added: 'I feel at this point I am not ready for international rugby'."

Coetzee said: "On top of that, Duane's wife is expecting their second baby in November - for those reasons he is not available for the end-of-year tour."  

After the Barbarians (October 5 at Wembley) and England (October 5) matches, South Africa play Italy in Florence on November 19 and Wales in Cardiff on November 26.

Agence France-Presse