Eddie Jones felt his pre-match comments fuelled Japan and enabled England to learn a “great lesson” in their win at Twickenham on Saturday.
Jones called on his much-changed side to “smash” his former team and advised the Brave Blossoms to “go to the temple and pray”.
The Australian might have been saying a few prayers of his own after Japan went in at half-time with a 15-10 lead, with England disjointed after Danny Care’s early try.
England were much improved following the introduction of Owen Farrell at the break, with Mark Wilson, debutant Joe Cokanasiga and Dylan Hartley going over as they fought back to win 35-15.
Jones, who made 11 alterations to his starting line-up following the defeat to New Zealand, thinks England will benefit from a first-half scare ahead of a showdown with Australia next weekend.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 17, 2018
The England head coach told Sky Sports: “I think possibly we got seduced by the game a little bit.
“First touch of the ball we score an easy try and maybe the players thought it was just going to happen. We responded well in the second half but it took us a while to get there.
“It’s a great lesson for us, you want these games to be a lesson. I’m glad Japan played so well, I’m really pleased for them.
“If they were motivated by certain comments, then the comments have done the job because we had a great game of rugby, it sorted us out a little bit, made us dig deep and that’s what we want.”
Jones was encouraged by 21-year-old wing Cokanasiga’s debut display.
“I definitely think he’ll score a few more of those [tries] in his career, how quickly they’ll come, we’ll wait and see, but certainly he showed enough to be considered in the future.” he added.
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