England’s build-up to their World Cup semi-final against New Zealand took a theatrical turn after Eddie Jones claimed Tuesday’s training session was spied upon.
The squad was completing one of the most crucial sessions of the week at their Tokyo base when, according to Jones, an unidentified cameraman was spotted in one of the buildings overlooking the pitch.
The England head coach shrugged off the incident as the biggest match of his four-year reign looms.
“There was definitely someone in the apartment block filming, but it might have been a Japanese fan. We don’t care, mate,” Jones said.
“We knew about it from the start, it doesn’t change anything. We love it.”
After initially joking that England had sent someone to spy on New Zealand, Jones said that observing another team in secret no longer has any value.
“I haven’t done it since 2001, used to do it. You just don’t need to do it any more, you can see everything,” Jones said.
“You can watch everyone’s training on YouTube. There’s no value in doing that sort of thing, absolutely zero.
“Everyone knows what everyone does, there are no surprises in world rugby any more. That’s the great thing about the game, you just have to be good enough on the day.”
Jones declined to reveal which team he scouted in secret in 2001 and admitted that All Blacks boss Steve Hansen will “laugh” when he hears of his spying claim.
“The England team is in usual circumstances because you get so much media exposure,” Jones said.
“You get media pressure, everything is scrutinised, the players are scrutinised, the coaches are scrutinised.
“We have such a complex landscape in England and the players have just stuck to the task of what we want to be.
“We said four years ago we wanted to be the best team in the world and we are going towards that.
“It’s there, it is what it is. You have to be able to cope with it and at times it is difficult to cope with, no doubt about it.
“One week ago I was going to get sacked, Owen Farrell couldn’t kick and someone wrote there’d be blood on the walls of Twickenham.
“Now we are in a semi-final and have a chance of going through and we are just excited about it.”
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Japan’s best-ever Rugby World Cup campaign might have come to an end but head coach Jamie Joseph had no regrets after the hosts bowed out in the quarter-final.
The Brave Blossoms had qualified for the tournament’s quarter-final for the first time in their history but that dream run came to an end on Sunday with defeat at the hands of South Africa.
Joseph was beaming with pride after his men’s stellar campaign and insisted that they had fulfilled their objectives for the tournament.
Japan’s run in the 2019 Rugby World Cup included four wins in the group-stage including a memorable win over Ireland. The hosts finally ran out of steam in the last eight where they tasted a 3-26 defeat at the hands of the Springboks.
Watch what a proud Joseph had to say about Japan’s campaign on home soil in the video above.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland believes his men won’t get a better chance to lift a Rugby World Cup title as they get ready to take on South Africa in the semi-final.
Gatland has urged his side to grab their chance with both hands in the upcoming tussle against the Springboks as they look to create history in Japan.
Wales advanced to the last four after a quarter-final victory over France in Oita on Friday but their win came at a big cost. Back-row Josh Navidi has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament after picking up a hamstring injury in the win and Gatland has confirmed that Wales will call up a replacement in time for the clash against South Africa.
“You get these opportunities once in a lifetime potentially. So you’ve got to grab them with both hands and make the most of it. So I think it’s important we prepare well this week and let the occasion take care of itself,” Gatland stated.
Watch what else the veteran coach had to say about his side’s chances in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in the video above.