LONDON – Just a few days ahead of their arrival in South Africa, England coach Eddie Jones says his team will look to use the Springboks' "dislike of the English" as a motivating factor during the three-Test series in June.
The Boks are set to kick-off their international season under new coach Rassie Erasmus with a one-off Test against Wales this Saturday. However, the headline fixtures in June will be against England in the weeks to follow.
England struggled in this year's Six Nations, but are still ranked third in the World Rugby standings, and will come to South Africa with a real point to prove.
Jones served as a coaching assistant during the Boks' victorious 2007 World Cup campaign, which saw them beat England in both the pool stages and the final.
Now England coach, Jones said he was fully aware of how the Boks would approach this June's Test matches, and cited South Africa's historical anti-English sentiment as a factor that couldn't be overlooked.
“That is definitely part of it, the certain cultural issues between the two countries that provides great motivation for the South Africans," Jones sad. "I probably understand the South African rugby psyche as well as anyone having had (coaching) experiences there.
"And I know what they will be like when they play England. You have to be able to exploit that and use it in a positive way – how you can use their dislike of the English to create an opportunity because you know at Ellis Park (for the first Test), they will be unbelievably passionate and aggressive."
Jones is renowned for his tendency to engage in a bit of verbal banter prior to big Test matches, and admitted it was important to "understand the psychology of the opposition".
"You have to understand where they get their strength from. They (the England players) need to understand why it is like that, why English teams haven’t won there in the past and then come up with an approach of how we will be ourselves.”
History shows that England have only ever managed three Test wins on South African soil, and Jones said they knew that a massive challenge lay in wait.
“We had a pretty good idea of what their squad was going to be,” said Jones. “It’s a strong squad. They’ve brought back some key players from overseas for leadership and a bit of direction.
"It’s going to be a challenging series. But we’re going over there to win. It always comes down to the fact that the first thing you’ve got to do is beat history. History shows that England have never won a series in South Africa.”
African News Agency (ANA)