Fuming Eddie Jones vows to show disrespectful South Africa that his England pack is not ‘weak’

Fuming Eddie Jones vows to show South Africa that his England pack is not ‘weak’ after accusing Springboks of disrespect after the 2019 World Cup final defeat

  • England’s Eddie Jones has accused South Africa of disrespect two years ago 
  • Jones says the Springboks dismissed his forwards after the 2019 World Cup final 
  • England and South Africa meet again in Saturday’s Autumn International Test 
  • Owen Farrell and Jamie George have been ruled out of action until the New Year  
  • Both now face a race to regain fitness ahead of next year’s Six Nations campaign 











Eddie Jones has ignited the build-up to Saturday’s showdown with South Africa by accusing the world champions of dismissing his England pack as ‘weak’.

The national coach suggested the Springboks had disrespected his forwards after the World Cup final two years ago, when England were beaten 32-12. 

‘Our pack’s not weak and we’ll have an opportunity on Saturday to show that,’ he said, declaring that the home side intend to make a mockery of South African expectations of dominance up front.

Eddie Jones (pictured) has accused South Africa of calling his England side ‘weak’ in the past

Jones claims the Springboks dismissed England's pack during the 2019 World Cup final

Jones claims the Springboks dismissed England’s pack during the 2019 World Cup final

‘They said after the World Cup final that they knew where our weaknesses were. They were implying that our forward pack was weak.

‘We’re looking forward to taking them on in that physicality and to try to expose the weaknesses they have.

‘The whole team’s up for the fight. I’ve never seen a team as ready to play against South Africa.’

Jones argued that if England’s pack can hold their ground, the Boks might lose discipline, adding: ‘There’s always a chance you can overboil. One or two players could lose it a bit. It then becomes like Covid — contagious.’ 

Jones says his whole England team is 'up for the fight' ahead of Saturday's showdown

Jones says his whole England team is ‘up for the fight’ ahead of Saturday’s showdown

Meanwhile, England captain Owen Farrell and hooker Jamie George face a race to be fit and ready for the start of the Six Nations, after being ruled out until the New Year.

The Saracens pair both went off injured during the national team’s 32-15 win over Australia at Twickenham last weekend and it was already clear that they would be unavailable to take on South Africa on Saturday. 

Both men have been sent for specialist assessments and Sportsmail understands that they are expected to be sidelined for at least two months each.

Precise details are still to be confirmed, but the indications are that Farrell requires an operation on the injury he sustained to his left ankle. In the case of George, surgery is not thought to be needed, but he is likely to require a prolonged period of rest and recuperation.

Owen Farrell has been ruled out until 2022 after picking up an injury against Australia

Owen Farrell has been ruled out until 2022 after picking up an injury against Australia 

This is bad news for Saracens, who would have hoped to have their captain and senior forward back on club duty and firing on all cylinders during the busy period of Premiership and European fixtures through December and January. 

George in particular was in exceptional club form prior to joining up with the Red Rose squad for the autumn campaign.

There is less of an immediate impact for England, but head coach Eddie Jones will hope that his skipper and a revitalised fulcrum of the pack will recover in time for the Six Nations – and also have sufficient match practice to avoid recent history repeating itself. 

Jamie George will also have to wait until next year to return to the field after being ruled out

Jamie George will also have to wait until next year to return to the field after being ruled out 

Last season, the relegated Saracens contingent went into the annual championship short of game-time and, in hindsight, there was recognition that this contributed to England’s grim campaign and fifth-place finish.

Next year, the opening fixture is against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 5 and after losing at home against the same opponents in the 2021 tournament, Jones will want to go to Edinburgh with his strongest side. 

If George is fit and in the groove again, he will challenge Luke Cowan-Dickie for the No 2 shirt, while Jones is likely to want Farrell back as captain, to resume the new 10-12 alliance with Marcus Smith.

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