England primed to cope with gruelling four-day turnaround, says Jones
Eddie Jones insists England are ready to be dragged out of their comfort zone when they seek to build World Cup momentum against the USA on Thursday.
A four-day turnaround between games has confronted the Webb Ellis Trophy hopefuls with the most hectic period of their Pool C campaign as victory over Tonga in Sapporo is followed by a clash at the Kobe Misaki Stadium 96 hours later.
In a dry-run for the occasion, Jones planned the build-up to last autumn’s 35-15 victory over Japan to mirror the lack of preparation time he must negotiate now.
England initially suffered from the reduced training program by trailing 15-10 at half-time at Twickenham before coming alive in the second half and Jones understands the pitfalls of a frantic schedule.
“We could have the same problems as then. It’s difficult having a quick turn-around,” former Japan coach Jones said.
“There’s no quick solution to it but we feel it’s maybe more psychological than physical.
“We’ve had two recovery days with a bit of training. The players have had experience for a four-day turn-around. We did that specifically for Japan.
“How do you prepare in a short time? I’ve had experience of a four-day turnaround from a previous World Cup.
“It’s about getting some energy back in them, making them feel good. They went out and had some Kobe beef at lunchtime on Tuesday and then did a bit of recovery.”
Jones encountered similar circumstances in the build-up to the last World Cup, yet guided the Brave Blossoms to the greatest upset in rugby history when South Africa were toppled in Brighton.
“I’ve had good and bad experiences of a four-day turnaround. I was just thinking about it the other day actually. We played in Kobe with Japan in the autumn of 2014,” the Australian said.
“We had two games against the Maori All Blacks and, when we played them here, we were beaten by 60 points, but there’s a bit of a story behind that.
“We didn’t deliberately go out to get beaten, but we deliberately played a game away from our strengths to make a message to the team about how we were going to play.
“The next game we played, we got beaten by one point and that reinforced the point that we had to play to our strengths.”
Captain George Ford has warned England they must complete the grinding down process before looking to build a score against the USA.
A feature of Japan 2019 has been the grit shown by tier-two nations in holding out against their more established rivals and Jones’ men have already experienced the determination of stubborn opposition.
Ford, who leads the team for the second Pool C encounter with Owen Farrell rested to the bench, insists patience is essential against the Eagles.
“It’s going to take some real good discipline and sticking to the plan to get the result we want,” Ford said.
“We need to put them under pressure and hopefully score a few points off the back of that.
“Like any Test, you’ve got to do the tough stuff first – in the first 15-20 minutes especially – to see where the rest of the game is going to go.”