Eddie Jones Rugby Britain Argentina Australia South Africa New Zealand Eddie Jones Rugby Britain Argentina Australia South Africa New Zealand

‘Liberated’ England keen to ‘light up Twickenham’ against South Africa

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Come Saturday night, Eddie Jones will have taken charge of his final England autumn international. It is not the ultimate yardstick by which the Australian’s tenure will be judged but his record in November in the role is remarkably strong – just two defeats and a draw across six campaigns, and never more than one loss in a single autumn.With the end of another international year in sight, South Africa are back at Twickenham seeking a first away win against England since 2014.

It feels a game upon which the entire English year will pivot - having snatched an improbable, dramatic late draw against New Zealand a week ago, an autumn that looked like it could dip towards disaster after defeat to Argentina at the start of the month may yet be somewhat salvaged.“It’s an important game, we want to make sure we light up Twickenham,” said Jones. “We’re building towards the World Cup this autumn, every game we’ve got a little bit better, and we want to get better this week.”By pure win/loss accounting, victory over the world champions would ensure England close 2022 in the black, but standing up to the Springboks’ might would perhaps represent more tangible signs of progress upon which supporters can hook their hopes for the year to come.

While descriptions of South Africa as a limited side dismiss the Springboks’ varied game, England are bracing, first and foremost, for an intense physical challenge.“I’ve never seen a Springbok team not turn up,” explained Jones. “Their belief in that game and their belief that they can physically over-power teams is immense.“They’ve still got three big contests – scrum, lineout maul and the aerial contest.

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