Rugby World Cup final: England ready for change in South Africa's approach

South Africa dug in for a victory based on attrition against Wales but England boss Eddie Jones knows his team carries many threats.

England player Ben Youngs (L) and head coach Eddie Jones attend a press conference ahead of the Rugby World Cup final against South Africa.

Eddie Jones knows South Africa's forward power poses a considerable threat to England in Saturday's Rugby World Cup final.

Both teams reached the showpiece in contrasting fashion last weekend – England dazzling throughout a dominant performance to unseat New Zealand, sending the reigning champion home with a 19-7 triumph.

A day later, South Africa was indebted to a perfect goalkicking performance from fly-half Handre Pollard as it edged Wales 19-16 in a gruelling encounter.

Jones noted the impact of the Springbok forwards introduced from the bench during the second half in Yokohama, hinting he would not be surprised if Rassie Erasmus opted to shuffle his starting XV.

"The only thing we are really worried about is how the Springboks turn up on Saturday," he told a news conference on Monday.

"They won a tough semi-final and when you are in the final of the World Cup you have done a lot of good things right.

"They are a massively aggressive forward pack and they played their stronger team in the second half as opposed to the first half.

"They are going to be a difficult side to beat but we will enjoy the preparations.

 

"We know a couple of areas where we think we can expose them and will make sure we are good in those areas."

England and South Africa have shared two wins apiece over their past four meetings and Jones is an admirer of his opposite number Erasmus.

Pollard and Faf de Klerk's kicking games were dominant features of the Springbok display against Wales but the England boss knows they can vary their approach.

"Rassie is a cunning coach and has done a great job with the Springboks," Jones said

"We are prepared for the unexpected and they can play different ways. You saw Faf de Klerk doing 15-20 box kicks. Handre Pollard is an excellent kicker of the ball and he was smooth and had a nice touch on the ball.

"They can play differently but also know they can come through the front door. Not many Springbok teams you play don't come through the front door so we will be ready at the front door and have enough cover for the back door if that happens."