DURBAN – England coach Eddie Jones believes his team are improving week by week as they approach the final Test against South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
Speaking from the team's base in Umhlanga, Durban, Jones said: “We were better on the weekend, and we’ll be better this weekend.”
England lost the second Test against South Africa last weekend, and with it the series, but Jones stresses this period will only make his side stronger.
“Every team I’ve ever been involved with goes through these periods and you have to be able to get through it,” he said. “They’re painful, and everyone knows better than you at the time, but once you get through it you have the hallmarks of a champion team and that is where we are going, I have no doubt about it.”
Jones steered England to a record-equalling 18-game unbeaten run between February 2016 and March 2017, before suffering the first loss.
A summer series win in Argentina last summer was followed by an autumn international clean sweep before three consecutive defeats in this year’s Six Nations Championship, and the Australian insists he was expecting a tough run at some point.
“You cannot just expect to keep winning endlessly,” he added. “You have these periods when it’s tough, but you have to battle through it. It builds resilience, it builds the character of your team, it builds memories and once you get out of it you get a stronger team.”
England go into Saturday’s final Test in Cape Town aiming for a victory that would make the series 2-1, and Jones is adamant his men will put on their best performance.
“We are disappointed to lose the series, these are tough times at the moment, but in terms of preparing for this week, we need to find a way to put our best performance out there on Saturday,” he said.
“We have a great bunch of players, couldn’t work with a better team, they are so committed to being the best they can be and at the moment we’re not – we know that and understand that – but we are working at finding ways to be better.
“You have to stay together and believe the way you are doing things is right. The team is very together.”
African News Agency (ANA)