In the 48 hours since their surprise defeat by Japan, the Springboks have dissected and analysed what caused one of the biggest upsets in rugby history. A seasoned stoker of controversy, Jones also insisted the local crowd would back his team – who wear red and white, as do Gloucester – because of the traditional rivalry between England and Scotland.
“They showed terrific drive and determination to get the win”. The video has since been uploaded to Twitter with the words, “To our Rugby coach please lead our team, they must represent us and make us proud”. Are we fitter? Definitely.
But Jones had a different assessment. ‘There’s only pressure when you don’t know what you are doing. It feels like a massive shock to us and it’s hard to take it all in.
For what he dubbed his team’s “most important game” at Rugby World Cup 2015, Jones replaced six players from the Springboks match and made two positional changes, Harumichi Tatekawa shifting to fly half from centre and Kotaro Matsushima switching wings. Scotland is one of the most established rugby countries in the world.
Japan now play Scotland on Wednesday.
The pressure was all on Scotland, he stressed. It’s the World Cup on the greatest stage.
Brown took time out of pre-season training to run the rule over Japan, Scottish chances at the tournament and the influence former Sarries captain Steve Borthwick is having as Japan forwards coach.
“Nobody fears us anymore”.
“But South Africa lost their composure towards the end of our game and somehow we managed to hang in there”.
Japan has jumped two spots in the world rankings to sit 11th while South Africa have tumbled from 3rd to 6th.
“Eddie believes his team will come out on top, but we have our own beliefs”, Taylor said.
“To borrow a cricket analogy if you score 100, when you come out in your next innings you have to work even harder”. Borthwick told the Telegraph that Jones gave the fearless Blossoms “clarity and belief” that they could beat the Springboks, who will battle off Samoa in their next game.
Springbok stalwart Bismarck du Plessis described the somber mood in the camp following their defeat to Japan over the weekend but said the team were looking to put that behind them.
“I think Japan have opened the eyes of the rugby world, and of the people who are just watching it for the first time”.