'Eddie will have something up his sleeve,' says Bok assistant coach Davids ahead of England Test

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  • Springbok coach Deon Davids expects England's coach Eddie Jones to pull an ace from his sleeve ahead of Saturday's Test at Twickenham.
  • Jones's side came through the fire on the weekend when they fought back from 25-6 down against the All Blacks to draw the game 25-25.
  • Southern Hemisphere teams have struggled to win at Twickenham in recent years, with Argentina being the only side to do so in the past four years.


In London

Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids said England coach Eddie Jones's ingenuity and inventiveness are just a few of the challenges they need to combat when they face England at Twickenham on Saturday.

On a cold and rainy afternoon at the Boks' Lensbury Hotel base in Teddington, Davids admitted Jones's general tactical and selection sharpness, with the former Australian head coach hinting at picking Maro Itoje at blindside flank to make way for South African-born Dave Ribbans to start at lock alongside Jonny Hill.

Such a change is ostensibly geared to challenge the Boks' lineout and maul, which was slightly faulty against Ireland and France, but came good against Italy.

READ | Boks: Once-imperilled Faf steels up his 'scrummie' spot

Davids said they need to be in a position to react to anything England will throw at them.

"Eddie's a good coach who always has something up his sleeve, so we're not expecting anything different for this game," Davids said.

"We need to be spot on in terms of our focus and how we will react to the challenges that they'll bring to us.

"We always prepare for a difficult encounter at Twickenham."

England goes into the Test on the back of a rousing 25-25 draw against the All Blacks where they reeled in a 19-point deficit in the last 10 minutes.

READ | 'Absolutely unbelievable': Bok hooker sings Kurt-Lee's praises

England had shown flashes of brilliance throughout the second half after a slow start, but how they took charge at the back end was frightening and fascinating.

The Boks, who haven't won at Twickenham since 2014 and lost their last two fixtures there against England by a point, are well aware of England's noted resilience at home against the Southern Hemisphere teams.

Until the 6 November loss to Argentina, England hadn't dropped a game against Southern Hemisphere opposition at home since a one-point loss against the All Blacks in 2018.

READ | Matfield calls on SA Rugby to take stance on Rassie: 'It's not looking good in the world'

It's for this reason that Davids regards England as a big threat despite the Boks carrying momentum from their big win against Italy on the weekend.

"We're under no illusion that it's going to be a big Test and England pose a big threat," Davids said.

"We were happy with last week's result, but England is a different challenge with their well-coached departments.

"We have to be up for this challenge and make sure we prepare thoroughly for the game."

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is expected to name his match-day 23 for the England Test on Tuesday, with kick-off being at 19.30 SA time.

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