Rugby World Cup 2019: Jones hoping England can prove their big-game credentials

By Liam Blackburn 4 October 2019 89
Rugby World Cup 2019: Jones hoping England can prove their big-game credentials

England face their first Tier One opponents at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday and coach Eddie Jones is looking for his players to prove they can thrive against Argentina.

Jones' men secured routine bonus-point wins over Tonga and the United States in their first two matches of the tournament, but the Pumas will provide a sterner test in Tokyo.

England then round off the group phase against France and, should they progress to the quarter-finals, they will likely face either Australia or Wales before a potential semi-final against reigning champions New Zealand.

The big-match temperament of Jones' players came into question when they lost five successive Test matches in 2018 - they also lost to the Barbarians - while they lost both of their fixtures against Tier One opponents at the 2015 World Cup.

However, England's coach has taken measures to ensure his team is better equipped for such high-profile encounters, though he concedes the proof will be in the pudding.

"We have worked hard on it, we've worked hard on creating training situations to equip the players for it," Jones told a news conference.

"The players have worked hard off the field to handle situations well. Like anything, it’s a bit like a tea bag, isn't it? You don't know good it is until you put it in the hot water."

Argentina, who are on the brink of elimination having already lost to France, have cranked up the mind games ahead of the encounter, with hooker Agustin Creevy describing England as "boring" and stating the match will be "like a war".

Jones has warned his team to keep their heads in the face of those comments

"You've got to be smart about that thing. Rugby is a tough physical game, we've seen that already at the World Cup," Jones added.

"The passion and pride come out in the toughness within your play but then there is the emotional control. When you've got a lot of passion and pride it tends to multiply your strengths and multiply your weaknesses.

"We obviously want to multiply our strengths and attack their weaknesses."

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Liam Blackburn