South Africa will never underestimate a team coached by Eddie Jones after he masterminded Japan’s World Cup giant killing, Springbok boss Rassie Erasmus insists ahead of Autumn clash
- England and South Africa collide in the autumn internationals on Saturday
- Eddie Jones was Japan coach when they upset South Africa at 2015 World Cup
- Springboks boss Rassie Erasmus says his injury-hit side won’t be taken lightly
- ‘Eddie is a sharp coach. He knows a lot about South Africa,’ Erasmus insists
Rassie Erasmus has insisted no South African will ever write off an Eddie Jones team after he inspired Japan to the World Cup’s greatest giant-killing.
Erasmus claimed every South African can tell you exactly where they were when Jones’ Japan shocked the Springboks 34-32 in Brighton on September 19, 2015.
And South Africa’s current rugby director says the Springboks will never underestimate a team coached by wily Australian Jones – least of all England in Saturday’s Twickenham Test clash.
Eddie Jones was in charge of Japan when they beat South Africa in a World Cup giant-killing
On Saturday at Twickenham, the Springboks face Jones’s injury-hit England in autumn Tests
England head into their first autumn clash beset by an injury crisis that has bitten hardest up front – but Erasmus refused to accept the hosts will lack for power or guile as a result.
‘That day and game is something any South African can always tell you where they were sat, where they were when they watched that game,’ said Erasmus.
‘That’s why words can always bite you. Eddie is a sharp coach. He knows a lot about South Africa. He helped us win the World Cup in 2007.
Alec Hepburn will make his first start on just his third cap at loosehead on Saturday, with his uncapped Exeter team-mate Ben Moon taking a seat on England’s bench.
Rassie Erasmus has insisted no South African will ever write off a team coached by Jones
‘Any South African can always tell you where they were sat,’ Erasmus said of the 34-32 defeat
Erasmus pointed to Springboks full-back Damian Willemse and scrum-half Ivan van Zyl both winning their fourth caps at Twickenham as evidence both sides are plugging their respective gaps.
‘I wouldn’t say they have a weakness; maybe us not knowing them so well might be to their advantage,’ he added.
‘It’s not people you see every weekend at Test match level. There’s a few new faces we haven’t faced before, but doing our homework on them, they look quality players.
‘I guess if I say they are thin up front, they will say between nine and 15 we have two or three caps. I wouldn’t say that’s a weakness for them. The minute we underestimate them, we’d be surprised.’
Sale flanker Tom Curry slots into an injury-hit and inexperienced England back-row, but Erasmus has warned his Springboks to beware of the 20-year-old’s precocious breakdown talents.
Sale flanker Tom Curry (right) will slot into an injury-hit and inexperienced England back-row
Curry starred when England pulled off a 25-10 victory over South Africa in Cape Town to end the summer tour with a 2-1 Test series defeat.
‘If you underestimate the new names, they bite you,’ said Erasmus.
‘Curry we didn’t know that well in June: we knew he was good over the ball, we knew he had a twin brother – but that’s about all we knew about him. And then he really got stuck in there at Newlands, he was one of the big, big reasons why we lost that Test match.
‘So for a young guy like that to step up and come to South Africa and do so well against a full Springbok team is really a tap on his shoulder. So that’s why I’m really very nervous of faces I don’t know so well. He’s a quality player.’
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