LONDON – England will change their game plan and put more emphasis on attacking play against the Springboks, coach Eddie Jones said ahead of this month’s three-Test tour.
England head into the series on the back of a poor Six Nations campaign during which they lost their last three matches to finish fifth. They were also beaten 63-45 by the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.
“We are investing more time into attack now, which we always were going to do, which was part of the plan,” Jones told British media.
“We’ve got a reasonable base in defence and set-piece ... now it’s time to put more effort into attack ... that’ll manifest itself into possibly more tries. We are looking to play the game slightly differently, which we saw parts of on Sunday.”
Jones said his focus was also on next year’s World Cup in Japan.
“We want to win in South Africa but we want to win the World Cup and the big thing is that you keep on changing, that you understand what you are good at but you keep on adapting.”
Jones responded to Bath owner Bruce Craig’s criticism of his training methods by saying that a high-intensity regime is required to prepare players for international matches.
Bath prop Beno Obano suffered ligament and hamstring tendon damage in England’s training camp at Brighton this month, taking the number of players from the Premiership club injured during Jones’ tenure to five.
British media quoted Craig as describing the situation as “totally unacceptable”.
“I haven’t seen any figures to suggest they are,” Jones added. “No one in our staff has suggested they are but Bruce is obviously an expert on training-ground injuries, so I’ll have to be subservient to his greater knowledge.”
Centre Ben Te’o was also ruled out of the SA tour after sustaining a thigh muscle injury this week.
Jones said there were still concerns over Billy Vunipola’s fitness despite the No 8 playing in Saracens’ Premiership final win over Exeter last weekend.
England face the Boks at Ellis Park (next Saturday), the Free State Stadium (June 16) and Newlands (June 23).