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'It's a scar you have for the rest of your life, mate'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Eddie Jones has admitted that the 2019 World Cup final defeat for England is a scar that he will have for the rest of his life but he insisted revenge isn’t a description to be used heading into Saturday’s first clash with the Springboks since that seminal meeting 24 months ago in Yokohama. 

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England were ultimately blown away by the Springboks in the final in Japan but as painful as it was, Jones has described how impressed he has been with how the England players who were involved that day have moved on from that deflating experience.

Jones has selected a starting pack for this weekend’s Autumn Nations Series match that contains five of the same starters from the World Cup finalKyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry and Sam Underhill – while there are three more repeat starters in the backline – Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May and Ben Youngs.  

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Freddie Burns on whether the Springboks will target Maro Itoje and Marcus Smith
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Freddie Burns on whether the Springboks will target Maro Itoje and Marcus Smith

“They beat us fair and square and you go into a final and you give your best and sometimes you are not good enough,” said England boss Jones looking back on the painful defeat that arose just a week after his team had eliminated the All Blacks.  

“Personally you never forget it, you never forget it. The players who played in that final never forget it. It’s with you your whole life but it’s your ability to get past that and focus on what is important next. 

“I have been impressed by how our team has done that and for me, I am just excited about coaching this young team and seeing where they can go. The 2019 World Cup at the moment is not a significant memory that I have but that is not to say I still don’t wake up in the morning and think about it. It’s a scar you have for the rest of your life, mate.”

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Asked if revenge was a factor heading to Saturday’s rematch with the Springboks, Jones added: “Not at all. They have got a different team, we have got a different team, different circumstances. We don’t get the World Cup back, mate. We don’t get the gold medal back so this game is about this game against this South African team which is No1 in the world, we’re No3 in the world. They think we have got a weak forward pack. We’ll see on Saturday.”

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