Eddie Jones is confident of victory in next month’s series against South Africa as he plots to use the Springboks’ enmity towards England to his team’s advantage.
A nine-try collapse before the Barbarians on Sunday registered a heaviest ever defeat for England at Twickenham and a fourth successive loss, delivering a disappointing prelude to the Tests in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town.
Jones acted as a coaching consultant to South Africa during their successful 2007 World Cup when they toppled England in the final to leave him with a strong grasp of Springbok psychology.
“We’re still going over there to win. South Africa have named a strong squad and it’s going to be a challenging series,” England head coach Jones said.
“The first thing we’ve got to do is beat history. History shows that England have never won a series in South Africa.
“I probably understand the South African rugby psyche as well as any having had experiences there. And I know what they are going to be like when they play England.
“There are certain cultural issues between the two countries that provide great motivation for the South Africans. You have to be able to exploit that and use it in a positive way.
BREAKING! Siya Kolisi has been appointed to captain the Springboks in the Castle Lager Incoming Series against England next month, while Pieter-Steph du Toit will lead the side against Wales in Washington. Both men will captain the Springboks for the first time. #LoveRugby pic.twitter.com/rcy3jPgnbt— Springboks (@Springboks) May 28, 2018
“How can you use their dislike of the English to create an opportunity for yourself because you know at Ellis Park they will be unbelievably passionate and aggressive for the first 20 minutes.
“That creates opportunities for us. We have to be good enough to understand those opportunities and execute them by coming up with an approach of how we will be ourselves.
“Like in any game of rugby, any physical contact sport, you have to understand the psychology of the opposition.
“You have to understand where they get their strength from. We tried to do it with Scotland in the Six Nations and weren’t good enough.”
England will be strengthened when players from Aviva Premiership finalists Saracens and Exeter arrive in camp on Tuesday, but there was no masking the embarrassment caused by the Barbarians.
A scratch team that had completed only three training sessions as preparation – one of which was filmed to later remind hungover players that they had been involved – were emphatic winners with only Elliot Daly, George Ford, Piers Francis and Tom Curry emerging with any credit.
To rub England’s noses in it, their international exile Chris Ashton ran in a hat-trick.
“It’s a selection game. That’s how I evaluate it. It’s a game where you have got bits and pieces of a squad and you put them up against a very good team and you find out about where the players are at,” Jones said.
“It was a tremendously useful exercise because it exposes young players to the reality of Test rugby, where you’ve got to be at. The only way to learn is to experience.
“You can talk about it all you can. Now it is about how hard those players work, how much desire they have to improve.”