Red Rose get Au­tumn In­ter­na­tional se­ries un­der way with nar­row win

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FRONT PAGE - DAVE CRAVEN

AF­TER A dra­matic vic­tory over South Africa, and in amid all his jovial talk about the English me­dia want­ing to see him sacked, Ed­die Jones was cer­tain about one other thing: his side can beat world cham­pi­ons New Zea­land.

Satur­day’s 12-11 against-all-odds suc­cess against the Springboks was just the sort of tonic the in­jury-rav­aged Red Rose needed to give their au­tumn in­ter­na­tion- als cam­paign an im­me­di­ate lift. Eng­land had won just one of their pre­vi­ous six Tests with pres­sure in­ten­si­fy­ing on Jones.

How­ever, now they can look ahead to Satur­day’s visit of the revered All Blacks with a spring in their step.

Back-to-back world cham­pi­ons New Zea­land ar­rive in the UK, for their long-awaited first meet­ing with Eng­land since 2014, hav­ing beaten Japan 69-31 in Tokyo en route. For all their spirit and en­deav­our against the Springboks, few ex­pect the hosts to be able to tame Shane Hansen’s side.

But Aus­tralian Jones, 58, said: “I re­mem­ber fac­ing the All Blacks twice as a player. Once was for my club, Rand­wick, and we be­lieved we could beat them (in 1988).

“I think we got beaten 21-12 (sic 25-9). I think it’s on YouTube. We had (one of ) the small­est los­ing mar­gins of any team on tour – in­clud­ing Aus­tralia – be­cause we be­lieved we could beat them.

“I played against them the next week, for New South Wales and we got beaten (29-4). No-one in that side be­lieved they could beat them.

‘You’ve got to be­lieve you can beat them. You’ve got to un­der­stand where they’re weak, un­der­stand where they’re strong and be dis­ci­plined in your game­plan.

“We’re go­ing to start that process on Sun­day night and be well pre­pared on Satur­day.”

Re­gard­less of whether or not Jones’ erst­while New South Wales team-mates agree with his sen­ti­ments, it is hard to ar­gue against his point.

In­deed, the Springboks de­feated New Zea­land 36-34 in Welling­ton in Septem­ber and al­most re­peated that trick in Pre­to­ria last month.

Jones added: “I said to the boys af­ter this game that I can’t wait. I can­not wait.

“The (All Blacks) are the bench­mark for world rugby; the team you want to play against. Where you are in the world, you only know when you play against the All Blacks.

“Any team that wins 91 per cent of their games is a great team. What other teams in world sport do that?’

“‘I didn’t need this (South Africa win) to make me be­lieve we can beat the All Blacks.

“I thought we could beat the All Blacks back in 2016. Noth­ing has changed there!”

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