Eddie Jones warns All Blacks at Rugby World Cup: pressure is going to be chasing you down the street
England coach says the spotlight is firmly on New Zealand this week, while also claiming that his team's training session in Tokyo was being filmed
The ever shy and retiring Eddie Jones went into his usual pre-match attack mode on Tuesday when he suggested that Rugby World Cup semi-final opponents New Zealand will have "pressure chasing them down the street" this week.
The Australian, not for the first time this year, also claimed on Tuesday that someone had been spying on England's training session.
It is well-trodden ground for Jones, who loves to toss in a verbal hand-grenade to stir things up before big games – and Saturday's semi-final at Yokohama is obviously the biggest of his four-year tenure.
"No one thinks we can win, there's no pressure on us, we're going to relax and have a great week," he said at the team's new base in Tokyo's rain-drenched Disneyland resort.
"New Zealand will be thinking about their 'threepeat'. They talk about walking towards the pressure but this week the pressure is going to be chasing them down the street."
Jones said he didn't necessarily feel the pressure would make them vulnerable but insisted it was something they would have to address.
"The busiest bloke in Tokyo this week will be Gilbert Enoke, their mental skills coach. They have to deal with all this pressure of winning the World Cup three times and it is potentially the last game for their greatest coach and they will be thinking about those things," he said.
Jones also said that team officials had spotted a red light in a building overlooking their pitch at their first training session back in Tokyo. "There was definitely someone in the apartment block filming but it might have been a Japanese fan," he said.
Despite the training pitches being surrounded by high sheeting and security guards patrolling to prevent unauthorised filming, Jones said he didn't mind if the session had been recorded.
"I don't care, that's part of the deal. That's the fun of the World Cup," he said. "You just don’t need to do it any more, you can see everything," he said. "You can watch everyone’s training on YouTube. There's no value in doing that sort of thing, absolutely zero."
New Zealand and tournament officials are unlikely to take much notice of Jones's latest claims, particularly as he made an almost word-for-word accusation ahead of the Six Nations in January.
"I can guarantee [Wales coach] Warren Gatland sends someone when we have an open session," he said at the time.
With England having won only one of their past 16 games against the All Blacks, it is hardly surprising that Jones has been somewhat obsessing about them since the World Cup draw was made two-and-a-half years ago and their semi-final destiny became likely.
The teams have met only once since Jones took over, when the All Blacks won 16-15 at Twickenham a year ago after a late match-winning try for England was controversially ruled out.
"We trialled some things in November against them and we can do things a little bit better in this game and now we have the opportunity to do it," Jones said.
"In the first meeting we had with the players [after taking over], we said we wanted to be the world's best team. You could see the ability was there, we just needed to change a few things, change the way we train, the way we play, the way we think.
"We have progressively done that over four years, and we have put ourselves in a good position at this World Cup now.
"If you look at what we've done as a team over the last four years, we’ve had some great wins, we’ve had some significant losses. We've learnt from those and there is a togetherness in this team that will carry them through.
"In a semi-final there will be big moments that will decide the game. I think we are well equipped to handle those moments."
Updated: October 22, 2019 01:29 PM