England coach Eddie Jones says he has learned from the 2019 Rugby World Cup final ahead of their Nations Cup final against France on Sunday.
Jones’ England are set to face an inexperienced France team in Sunday’s final at Twickenham. A pre-tournament agreement between France and their clubs over player releases specified that no player could make more than three tournament appearances, and that quota has already been used up on most of their first-choice players.
This means that France have named the second-most inexperienced starting lineup in their history, with just 68 Test caps shared between their XV. By comparison, England have a starting team with a record 813 caps between them.
However, Jones is not allowing for any complacency in his squad, instructing his players to ‘attack the week’ instead of simply getting through it as they did in the buildup to the 2019 World Cup final in Yokohama.
England were also billed as the favourites against South Africa, especially after handing the All Blacks a tough defeat in the semi-finals. Jones’ side, however, found themselves on the heaviest World Cup final loss against the Springboks a week later.
‘We didn’t attack the week [in Japan] like we normally do,’ Jones said. ‘In the week of the World Cup final, we were probably more content about just getting through the week. We were underprepared, whereas we have had a peaking week this week, the right balance in terms of physical and recovery. I probably reflect on that World Cup final week every day.
‘When you lose a big final it stays with you for a long time. You never put it to bed. The result is what it is. It doesn’t go away and causes you to reflect.
‘If you don’t learn from it, you don’t get another opportunity to play in a final, yet here we are 13 months later, blessed to have the opportunity to play another final.
‘We lost our last final, so the big thing is to win. There has been a real focus on attacking the game and seeing where we can improve. It has been a great learning week for us. It has been a bit of a mindset change.’
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