Eddie Jones has braced England to face what he is claiming is the most dominant team in the history of sport but is convinced New Zealand can be dethroned in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final.
Jones points to the All Blacks’ win percentage of 86 since successfully defending the Webb Ellis Trophy four years ago to support his view that they occupy a unique position, also insisting the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship is tougher than Europe’s Six Nations.
The All Blacks’ 46-14 demolition of Ireland has set up a seismic showdown in Yokohama but Jones insists his quarter-final conquerors of Australia have the potential to seize greatness for themselves.
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“We have a challenge this week because we are playing the greatest team that has ever been in sport,” said Jones.
“If you look at their record I don’t think there’s a team that comes close to them for sustainability. Since the last World Cup they’ve won a high percentage of their tests.
“Name me another team in the world that plays at the absolute top level that wins so many of their games.
“They are playing in the toughest competition in the world against the best all the time. I just admire them. To do what they do from a small country is incredible.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 20, 2019
“It’s an example of what you can do. People are raving about Japan at the moment and it’s fantastic but you look at what New Zealand have done with four million people.
“You have to admire them, but then the challenge is to beat them and the reason I took this job is because I saw a team that could be great. That was the challenge and they are starting to believe it.
“New Zealand are a great team with a great coach with a great captain, but like any team they are beatable and there are ways to beat them.
England are attempting reach the final for the first time since 2007 and Jones welcomes the challenge.
“We are in a World Cup in a neutral country, referees, crowd, atmosphere and the teams that adapt are the ones making it to the end of the competition,” Jones said.
“Now talent doesn’t matter – it’s all about how strong the team is. When you get to this stage of the tournament, it’s about how strong the team is.
“We’re a strong team and we’re getting stronger all the time. We’re believing in each other, we believe in the way we play. We’re playing to our strengths.
“Look at the second-half score against Australia – it was 23-7. That doesn’t come from blowing magic dust, it comes from working hard.”
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