Eddie Jones tells ITV News 're-set' England are ready for final as Sir Clive Woodward warns of Springbok underdog threat

  • Video report by ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott

In between training sessions this week the England’s players have answered dozens and dozens of very similar questions. If they’re honest, members of the ever-growing circus following them around have been struggling to think of new areas to explore.

Frankly we’ll all be glad when tomorrow comes. The phoney war fills a vacuum between games but in the end, tomorrow is what it is all about.

On the eve of this defining game, I watched an intriguing exchange, Sir Clive Woodward, who masterminded England’s first ever World Cup in 2003 interviewing Eddie Jones for ITV’s pre match build-up on Saturday morning.

Jones of course was the Australia coach 16 years ago when Jonny Wilkinson drop kicked England over the line.

  • Steve Scott has the latest from Yokohama

Well ahead of most Woodward was confident that England would see off New Zealand last weekend and that South Africa would be their opposition in the final. At the same time he also predicted that the Springboks would be the more difficult game for Eddie Jones’ men.

"I think this will be the toughest week by a long way for all their careers," Sir Clive said.

"I think a big task for Eddie to get this team absolutely right - because you can undercook it, you can overcook it.

"I think England need to be better this weekend than last weekend if they're going to beat the Springboks."

Jones has been consistent throughout, only asking of his players to improve with each game. Unquestionably they have and he knows if they can do it one last time the trophy will be on its way to England.

The England head coach said: "It's a matter of re-setting, refocusing. Monday for us was like day one of the tournament. We started again and the players have been very good at being diligent and disciplined in how they approach it and they're ready to go."

It’s unlikely the Springboks will change a game plan that’s worked so well for them since their opening match in Japan; a defeat against New Zealand.

When they have the ball their giant forwards will muscle towards England’s line and their busy number 9 Faf du Klerk will aim to put England in reverse with his clever kicking game. Without possession they will do their best to pummel England backwards and hurt them with big hits; physically and mentally.

Woodward believes one of the reasons England will find the Springboks difficult to break down is because a good number of them play in England so know Jones’ squad well. New Zealand did not have that advantage.

"They will not underestimate England and the South Africans will love being the underdogs," Sir Clive told ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott.

"Their performance against Wales was pretty average, while England was 10 out of 10 - but South Africans, if you just go through their team, that's a really, really strong side they'll put out.

"So this is a real dangerous game for England."

  • Former World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson puts Owen Farrell through his paces as England gear up to take on South Africa on Saturday

In the face of the attempt to suffocate them, to knock them off their game, England will have to play without fear and create the same intensity, power and above all speed that killed off New Zealand. Everyone must bring their A game for a second successive weekend.

Jones has not put a foot wrong so far during this tournament, whether that’s selection, tactics or what he’s said when in front of a microphone. But he won’t take any credit for that now or in the future, even as a World Cup winning coach.

He said: "It's more about the team - you coach because you love coaching a team, you love the game, and I think this tournament's been a fantastic advertisement for the game of rugby and we can do something fantastic for England now, which is a marvellous opportunity for the team and for myself to be involved in."

If England fall short on Saturday the failure will live with the squad for ever, especially those who will not get a second crack at it. They will have fumbled a life-changing opportunity. But if it does happen, the small consolation for all true rugby fans of whatever nationality will be the sight of South Africa’s first black captain, Siya Kolisi, raising the trophy above his head.

Former Springbok Bryan Habana told me earlier this week it gave him goose-bumps just thinking about it. For the still troubled country it would provide a symbolic moment on a par with Nelson Mandela presenting the trophy to Francoise Pienaar in 1995.

  • England take on South Africa on Saturday. Full coverage starts at 7am on ITV.