Jones believes England have to prove their mettle in bruising Argentina battle
Eddie Jones is expecting a brutal forward contest.
Eddie Jones believes England face a test of their “manlihood” when they attempt to guarantee passage into the World Cup quarter-finals by defeating Argentina.
The rivals clash at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday when the Pumas will be fighting to survive at Japan 2019 after losing their opener to France – England’s closest rivals for top spot in Pool C.
Until toppling Tonga last weekend, Argentina had lost their previous 10 Tests and they should be swept aside by the 2003 champions. But Jones insists that for England to prevail, they must win the forward battle.
“Argentina base their game on the scrum. It’s a test of manlihood so you have to take them on up-front – scrum, maul, ruck attack, ruck defence. That’s where it will be won,” Jones said.
“Everyone trained really well this morning – they’re looking fit, fast, brutal and ready to go.
“There are no last minute messages. The players are well prepared after a good week’s preparation. They know what to do, now they just have to go out there and do it.”
Defeat would almost certainly send Argentina home at the end of the pool stage and the Pumas camp have invoked an air of desperation in hope of upstaging a team that sits seven places higher in the global rankings.
Jones, however, does not see their precarious position as an opportunity to be exploited.
“It is not a matter of us taking advantage, it’s a matter of us preparing well for the game,” Jones said.
“We have prepared well for the game and physically we are in the best position we have ever been in.
“We can’t be seduced by Argentina’s state. We know they play with a lot of pride and a lot of passion and that will be multiplied by the fact they are in a game that’s very important to them.
Rugby is a tough physical game. We have seen that already at this World Cup. The passion and pride come down to the toughness of your play
- Eddie Jones
“So that allows us to try and take away their strengths – it is pretty clear how they will play by the side they have picked – and then try and attack their weaknesses.
“Rugby is a tough physical game. We have seen that already at this World Cup. The passion and pride come down to the toughness of your play.
“But then there’s emotional control because when you have a lot of passion and pride, it tends to multiply your strengths and multiply your weaknesses.”
England have rebuilt following last year’s six-match losing sequence but doubts over their big game temperament persist due to their tendency to throw away leads – a frailty that cost them the recent Six Nations.
Every team faced now will be tier one opponents so slip ups cannot be afforded and Jones insists every effort has been taken to enable his players to deal with pivotal moments in games.
“We have worked hard on it, on creating training situations to equip the players for it,” Jones said.
“Working hard off the field to handle situations well. It’s a bit like a tea bag isn’t it? You don’t know good it is until you put it in hot water.”