In Brief

Rugby World Cup final: Eddie Jones won’t be satisfied until England are the best

Jones says his team must find ‘another level’ against the Springboks in the final

England vs. South Africa 

  • What: 2019 Rugby World Cup final 
  • When: Saturday 2 November  
  • Where: International Stadium, Yokohama, Japan 
  • UK start time: 9am  
  • UK TV coverage: live on ITV 

Eddie Jones has told his England players to find another level against South Africa in next Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final.

England are the favourites to win the Webb Ellis Cup after their ruthless 19-7 destruction of New Zealand in Saturday’s semi-final, but Jones says there is still much work to be done if his players want to be considered world-beaters. 

“We want to be the best in the world and we’re not,” said Jones, who watched South Africa beat Wales 19-16 in the second-semi-final. 

“We’re not going to be satisfied until we’re the best in the world. We’re going to have to find another level and it’s definitely there.” 

Feet on the ground

A coach as experienced as Jones knows that the way England crushed the All Blacks was remarkable.

He also knows that there is a danger of allowing complacency to creep into the squad, particularly given the scrappy nature of South Africa’s unimpressive 19-16 win against Wales.

England may be favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup but sport has a way of not going according to the script. 

“We’ve got to play better next week,” said the Australian. “It’s about making sure no one gets too far ahead of themselves and this team has got no reason to, because we haven’t achieved what we want to achieve. 

“All it’s done is give us another week in the competition.” 

Wait and see

The final that all British rugby fans wanted was denied by the power of the Springboks, who out-muscled Wales in a dour contest that was in stark contrast to England’s pace and precision of the previous day. 

Asked afterwards if he had England as favourites for the final, a sullen Wales coach Warren Gatland replied: “We have seen teams play their final in the semi-final and don’t turn up for the final. We will see what England do.”

Samurai spirit

England have called scrum-half Ben Spencer into the squad to replace Willi Heinz, who is out of the final. Heinz tweaked his hamstring after coming on as a second-half sub against the All Blacks. 

There are also concerns about winger Jonny May, who limped off with a similar injury, and captain Owen Farrell, although he is expected to have recovered from a blow to his thigh.

“I think you would have needed a samurai sword to get him off,” said Jones, when asked if he had contemplated taking Farrell off after he sustained the knock in the first-half against New Zealand.

Shadowlands

Farrell and the rest of the squad have had the last 48 hours off after their exploits, and Jones says it’s back to the office on Tuesday to prepare for the biggest game of their lives. 

“It’s just another week,” Jones said. “The mindset you create during the week is very important. And it’s about not inventing shadows. 

“Everywhere you look, there are shadows, so you have to make sure you are looking at the right shadows. We’ll have a couple of days of recovery. We’ll get stuck into work on Tuesday.” 

RWC final start time and TV details

The 2019 Rugby World Cup final between England and South Africa takes place on Saturday 2 November at the International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. The final starts at 9am (UK time) and ITV’s coverage begins at 8am.   

2019 RWC further reading

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