TALK­ING POINTS:THEMAINPLO­TLINESOFTO­DAY’SSHOWPIECE

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT - Win or lose, Jones’s fu­ture serves as a fas­ci­nat­ing sub­plot to events in Yoko­hama. The 59-year-old has flatly

Eng­land col­lide with South Africa in to­day’s World Cup fi­nal at In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium Yoko­hama to bring down the cur­tain on Ja­pan 2019. Here, we ex­am­ine the key talk­ing points head­ing into the cli­max to the ninth in­stal­ment of the tour­na­ment.

■ JUDG­MENT DAY

Ed­die Jones stated his only real goal from the mo­ment he re­placed Stu­art Lan­caster at the end of 2015 was to win the World Cup in Ja­pan.

Now that mo­ment has ar­rived cour­tesy of a stag­ger­ing 19-7 de­mo­li­tion of New Zealand that has in­stalled Eng­land as favourites to lift the Webb El­lis Tro­phy for the sec­ond time.

Jones has al­ready con­structed a team of which the na­tion can be proud, but vic­tory on Satur­day would place them in the pan­theon along­side the he­roes of 2003.

■ WHAT NEXT FOR ED­DIE?

re­fused to en­gage on what lies ahead for a coach who is at the very top of his game. In reach­ing the fi­nal he has al­ready ex­ceeded the tar­get needed to trig­ger the two-year ex­ten­sion agreed with Twick­en­ham last­ing un­til 2021, but there will now un­doubt­edly be moves to tie him down un­til the next World Cup in France.

Rud­der­less Aus­tralia are a gen­uine al­ter­na­tive as Jones has un­fin­ished busi­ness with the Wal­la­bies and Michael Cheika has left his post, but with most of the cur­rent Eng­land team set to be around for France 2023 and the Rugby Foot­ball Union happy to give him the re­sources he needs – even at a time of aus­ter­ity for the govern­ing body – he will surely stay.

■ FIFTY FOR KOLISI

Jones’s fu­ture may be laced with uncertaint­y but Spring­boks coach Rassie Eras­mus has con­firmed he will step down af­ter the fi­nal.

Just as sig­nif­i­cant, how­ever, is the 50th cap that will be won by Siya Kolisi – the na­tion’s first black Test cap­tain. Rugby is viewed as a uni­fy­ing force in South

Africa and with the pop­u­lar Kolisi at the helm, the na­tion has an in­spi­ra­tional fig­ure to rally be­hind.

Yet the ap­point­ment had far more hum­ble ori­gins. Eras­mus said: “My plan never was this big thing to get the coun­try be­hind us. Siya was ac­tu­ally the best Su­per Rugby-per­form­ing team cap­tain and that’s the rea­son why he be­came cap­tain of the Spring­boks.

“I was naive not to think it would be a mas­sive thing. It’s his 50th Test and this is a fit­ting and won­der­ful oc­ca­sion for him as the first black cap­tain.”

Rassie Eras­mus

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