OITA. — Eddie Jones believes England have the weapons to upset New Zealand in this coming weekend’s Rugby World Cup semi-final — as long as his players are not dazzled by the All Blacks’ stardust.
England are daring to dream in Japan after smashing Australia 40-16 in Oita, but Jones knows his side have a mountain to climb in the shape of treble-chasing New Zealand when the heavyweights clash in Yokohama.
“You always want to play the best and they are the best — no one can dispute that,” said the Australian.
“You want to be the best in the world, you have to beat the best,” added Jones.
“New Zealand are a great team with a great coach and a great captain, but like any team they are beatable.
“But I think what happens is you become part of the show,” he warned, pointing to the aura of invincibility built up by the All Blacks, who destroyed Ireland 46-14 in the quarter-finals and are unbeaten in a World Cup match since 2007.
“You watch — I thought that happened (with) Ireland. They really only got stuck in when the game was lost. Against any of the best teams, you have to go hard from the start. That’s going to be important for us.”
England were edged 16-15 by New Zealand at a rain-soaked Twickenham last November in their only meeting since Jones took charge following the 2015 World Cup debacle under his predecessor, Stuart Lancaster.
But after reaching the semi-finals for the first time in 12 years, England’s players are on the cusp of greatness, according to Jones.
“The reason I took this job is because I saw a team that could be great,” he said.
“We’ve got to look at it as almost a one-off game rather than try to link it to past performances.”— AFP.
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