Eddie Jones believes that a return to a more traditional style of play is starting to pay dividends for Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks, reports JON CARDINELLI in Bloemfontein.
The Boks beat England 23-12 in Bloemfontein on Saturday to clinch the series 2-0. The manner of victory was impressive, with the hosts out-muscling and outplaying a more experienced and decorated England team.
‘It’s been a very traditional Bok rugby performance over the past two Tests,’ Jones said at Free State Stadium.
Jones has long been a fan of the South African style of play, and knows a thing or two about it after serving as the technical adviser to the Boks during their successful 2007 World Cup campaign.
‘They are doing those traditional things very well,’ Jones said. ‘There’s a chance that this side will develop into a very good team in future.’
Most of the focus at the post-match press conference was, however, on England’s decline in 2018.
Jones guided the side to back-to-back Six Nations titles in 2016 and 2017, and to a joint-world record for the most consecutive tier-one Test wins. This season, though, Jones’ team have lost six games in a row, a record that includes five Test defeats.
‘I wish I knew,’ the coach replied when he was asked why the team started so well in Johannesburg and then Bloemfontein, only to finish on the wrong side of the result. On Saturday, England powered their way to a 12-0 lead, but then failed to score a single point in the next 60-odd minutes.
‘It was like a horror movie. This game was like a rerun of last week [in Johannesburg].
‘We’re trying to work on a solution, but it just seems like small things keep happening in these games and the players aren’t reacting to them.
‘I’ve brought Australian sides to South Africa before, and I’ve seen the same thing happen,’ Jones added. ‘Games ebb and flow in this part of the world. If you want to beat the Boks in South Africa, you have to be consistent. You’ve got to take control, you can’t allow yourselves to go along with that ebb and flow.
‘This will be a good learning experience for the team. The players have perhaps tried too hard as individuals instead of trusting in what the team can do.’
The England coach believes that his side can win in Cape Town next week to finish the tour on a high.
‘We have to get our pride back,’ he said. ‘The third Test should witness a spirited performance by this England side.
‘We’ve got to stick together now. There’s a lot we can get out of that game.’
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images