Eddie Jones expects Japan to be competitive

Eddie Jones (Getty)
Eddie Jones (Getty)

Cape Town - England coach Eddie Jones expects to face a competitive Japan side, because of their change in mentality, when the sides meet on Saturday.

Jones' side are back at Twickenham looking for a win after the narrow 15-16 loss to world champions New Zealand last weekend.

Japan, who are ranked 11th in the world, were coached by Jones for three years until the last Rugby World Cup in England, where they memorably beat South Africa in Brighton.

“When I went there they had a completely losing mindset where they were happy go play against England and lose - as long as they tried hard everyone was happy," Jones told England Rugby.

“They have the name Brave Blossoms and now those young guys, because they’ve seen Japan win, now think they can win.

“The young guys now also play Super Rugby so they play against some of the best in the world on a weekly basis, so they think they can win and that’s what makes them more dangerous."

Former Kiwi international Jamie Joseph is now in charge of Japan and Jones already has an idea of how they will look to play.

“They’re a well-coached side, a very well coached side," he added. “They’re the highest kicking team in the world, so in their own half they don’t run, they kick everything.

“They’re very good in unstructured situations at attacking, they’re a big team now, much bigger than when I had them."

England have been led in these November games by co-captains Dylan Hartley and Owen Farrell.

After a win over South Africa followed by the encouraging performance against New Zealand, Jones has been pleased with how the pair have gone about their roles. "It’s a powerful combination."

“The boys are doing a great job and I’m really pleased with how the co-captaincy is working.

“I think the whole team can feel the power of it – it’s a powerful combination.

“They’ve got almost a symbiotic relationship that they know when to talk, they know what to say.

"You see them and the end of a meeting that one of them will get up and talk and the other one will listen and then they might change roles at the end of training."

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