Eddie Jones admits playing mind games to unsettle semi final opponents the All Blacks
England Rugby coach Eddie Jones has insisted all the pressure is on opponents New Zealand as he hopes his side fulfils the potential he first saw in 2015.
Jones declared “no-one expects us to win” as England prepare to face the world-champion All Blacks on Saturday, with the winner booking a place in the World Cup Final.
The England coach [said on Tuesday that “pressure is going to be chasing [New Zealand] down the street”]((https://www.itv.com/news/2019-10-22/hands-up-if-you-think-england-can-win-eddie-jones-piles-pressure-on-new-zealand-ahead-of-rugby-world-cup-semi-final/) and admitted to ITV News he was using the media to unsettle their opponents.
Despite the odds, Jones is confident his side can become the great team he believed they could become even after watching them in the disastrous 2015 Rugby World Cup - when hosts England were dumped out at the group stage.
Video report by ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott
“I really think the pressure is on New Zealand, they are batting for their third world cup in a row and we know the whole country is massively supportive of New Zealand,” he told ITV News.
“We saw the press conference, we had 100 people in there, 97 thought New Zealand are going to win, three timidly put up their hands saying England.
“I think they were hoping nobody saw them put up their hand. And that’s the sort of pressure they are under because they have got the weight of expectation.”
Jones told ITV News they won’t be facing the three-time world champions’ history, instead they will be facing 23 men who he knows “bleed, bruise and drop passes”.
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He added the reason he took the job in England was because he saw a team that could “develop into a great team” and said Saturday is an opportunity to see how close they are to that.
“I saw a team in the 2015 world cup that could develop into a great team and my job has been to develop that.
“We’re not a great team yet but I feel like we’re going in the right direction and on Saturday we have got another opportunity to see how close we are to greatness.”
Asked if a win on Saturday would mean greatness, Jones replied: “We just get another week in the tournament.”
How England will line up on Saturday
Jones has selected his starting 15 for the game, with George Ford restored at fly-half in the only change to the team that demolished Australia.
To accommodate Ford, captain Owen Farrell moves to inside centre and Manu Tuilagi shifts to 13 with Henry Slade dropping to the bench.
Jones began planning for Saturday's seismic showdown since the World Cup draw was made in Kyoto in May 2017 and now that the moment has arrived, he insists his team will rise to the occasion.
"We are ready for the game, we've had two-and-a-half years to prepare for this game so we are ready to go," Jones said.
"It's going to be a great contest. Two heavyweights, one dressed in black, one dressed in white. You couldn't think of a better scenario.
"There's a certain sort of game you have to have to play against New Zealand, and certainly we have tried to incorporate that into our tactical armoury.
"We were confident enough to think we'd make the semi-finals, so we feel like we are well-prepared for the game."
Against Australia a week earlier it was felt that England needed to add steel to their defence to contain Samu Kerevi, resulting in Ford being demoted to the bench.
For reigning champions New Zealand, who have not lost a World Cup match since 2007, it is believed that the Leicester fly-half's cunning will be crucial.
"Every game we have a look at the conditions, the opposition, what we think we need to do, what we need to take away from the opposition and this is the best fit for us. Horses for courses," Jones said.
"We just feel it's the right combination this week. Work-rate is going to be important. Whenever you play against New Zealand your work off the ball is going to be massively important.
"They like to move the ball around, they are very good on transition and George's work-rate off the ball has been absolutely exceptional."