Jones: NZ always there for the taking | ‘They’ve never had an aura’


“Well, to me they never had an aura. To me, as I said, they’re always there for the taking. I always enjoy coaching against New Zealand because you’re coaching against the best team and you want to be playing against the best,” – England’s head coach Eddie Jones

Last Updated: 17/11/22 4:41pm

England head coach Eddie Jones is bullish about their chances against New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday and says they are the benchmark opponents in international rugby.

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England head coach Eddie Jones is bullish about their chances against New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday and says they are the benchmark opponents in international rugby.

England head coach Eddie Jones is bullish about their chances against New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday and says they are the benchmark opponents in international rugby.

England head coach Eddie Jones believes New Zealand are “there for the taking” and that the All Blacks don’t have an aura.

Jones’ England will run-out in front of a sell-out crowd at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday and aim to replicate the winning-performance they delivered against New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

The All Blacks arrive in London after a tense encounter with Scotland last weekend, where a changed side from the one that clinically dispatched Wales earlier this autumn, came from behind to win 31-23 at Murrayfield.

Jones made it clear after England’s win over Japan last Saturday that his side would “go after” New Zealand and reiterated that sentiment on team announcement day.

“New Zealand’s always there for the taking,” he said. “Why else do you go and play against them if they’re not there for the taking?

“I think they’ve done remarkably well to come back from where they were. I remember watching them get beaten very conclusively by South Africa (in the Rugby Championship). They came back the next week, played superbly to win and went on to win the Rugby Championship. What a fantastic achievement.

Jones is content with his team's preparations and praises captain Owen Farrell's achievement of 100 caps

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Jones is content with his team’s preparations and praises captain Owen Farrell’s achievement of 100 caps

Jones is content with his team’s preparations and praises captain Owen Farrell’s achievement of 100 caps

“New Zealand have won five or six in a row now, they’re a team that’s redeveloping,” Jones continued.

“They’ve had some of their older players being injured but they have Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock back now, (Ardie) Savea is at his best, so they’ve got a great combination of players and I’m sure they’re going to be at their best on Saturday.”

It’s the benchmark game of the year for England to play against New Zealand. You find out a lot about yourselves as a team, you find out where you are in terms of the world and we’re all excited by it.

Eddie Jones

With the success that New Zealand’s All Blacks have achieved in the sport, the topic of the team having an ‘aura’ about them is often discussed. Jones is clear about his stance on that.

“Well, to me they never had an aura. To me, as I said, they’re always there for the taking. I always enjoy coaching against New Zealand because you’re coaching against the best team and you want to be playing against the best,” Jones noted.

“So, to me, they’ve never had an aura, they’ve had a lot of power and a lot of ways to bully teams and we’ve got to make sure that we don’t get bullied on Saturday.”

England – Starting XV and bench

England: 15. Freddie Steward, 14. Jack Nowell, 13. Manu Tuilagi, 12. Owen Farrell (captain), 11. Jonny May, 10. Marcus Smith, 9. Jack van Poortvliet, 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Sam Simmonds, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Billy Vunipola.Replacements: 16. Jamie George, 17. Mako Vunipoa, 18. Will Stuart, 19. David Ribbans, 20. Jack Willis, 21. Ben Youngs, 22. Guy Porter, 23. Henry Slade.

Owen Farrell will lead England out on Saturday and the match marks his 100th international cap.

“Owen makes every team he plays in better,” Jones said about his captain. “He’s always driven for the team to be at its best. Every training session, he’s uncompromising on standards and I’ve never seen him flinch from that.

“There’s no reason why he can’t keep on getting better as a player. He had a bad run of injuries this year, he came back and we asked him to play three Tests at his best in Australia. He did that.”

Jack van Poortvliet will start for England at scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet will start for England at scrum-half

Jack van Poortvliet will start for England at scrum-half

Jones has decided to start Jack van Poortvliet at scrum-half with Ben Youngs, who owns 119 caps, being named on the bench.

“To have those two guys is fantastic for the team. Benny will probably play in the last 20 minutes of the game and that’s when you win or lose the game against New Zealand.

“This is all part of his (Jack’s) progression. Sometimes we push him forwards and sometimes we pull him back, we’re just trying to get the right balance.

“It’s like when you have a racehorse you don’t run them for seven weekends in a row, if you want them to be at their best for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, sometimes you put them out and sometimes you pull them back.

There are changes in England’s back row from the one that faced Japan. Sam Simmonds will start at blindside flanker and the No 8 eight jersey will be worn by Billy Vunipola. Tom Curry remains at blindside flanker and Maro Itoje moves back into the second row.

“The contest against New Zealand at the breakdown is huge,” Jones said.

“They’ve got (Ardie) Savea and Dalton Papali’i, who are at the top of their game and then Scott Barrett at six gives them a bit of bulk around the breakdown. We just felt we needed a bit more speed this week.”

England: 15. Freddie Steward, 14. Jack Nowell, 13. Manu Tuilagi, 12. Owen Farrell (captain), 11. Jonny May, 10. Marcus Smith, 9. Jack van Poortvliet, 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Sam Simmonds, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: 16. Jamie George, 17. Mako Vunipoa, 18. Will Stuart, 19. David Ribbans, 20. Jack Willis, 21. Ben Youngs, 22. Guy Porter, 23. Henry Slade.

New Zealand: 15. Beauden Barrett, 14. Mark Telea, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. Jordie Barrett, 11. Caleb Clarke, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 1. Ethan de Groot, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Tyrel Lomax, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Samuel Whitelock (captain), 6. Scott Barrett, 7. Dalton Papali’i, 8. Ardie Savea.

Replacements: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. George Bower, 18. Nepo Laulala, 19. Shannon Frizell, 20. Hoskins Sotutu, 21. TJ Perenara, 22. David Havili, 23. Anton Lienert-Brown.

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