Eddie Jones says England cannot give South Africa the opportunity to play their own game if his side are to triumph in the Rugby World Cup final.
England put in a dominant performance against two-time defending champions New Zealand in the semi-finals, claiming a 19-7 win in Yokohama and progressing to their first World Cup final since 2007.
South Africa were their opponents on that occasion, too, with the Springboks coming out on top 15-6 in Paris.
Rassie Erasmus’ South Africa defeated Wales to tee up Saturday’s rematch and, while their victory was less convincing than England’s against the All Blacks, Jones sees no room for complacency.
The England coach wants his team to seize the initiative early again, having scored with a Manu Tuilagi try after just two minutes to stun New Zealand.
“We just want to go out there and play,” Jones told a news conference. “The great thing for us is that we have done the preparation, we know we have done the preparation and we are ready for this occasion.
“We have spent four years getting ready for this occasion. That is why the players can be relaxed, that is why I can be relaxed, because we know we have done the work. We are not relaxed about knowing what is in front of us.
“We know South Africa are going to come hard. They have got a history of being the most physically intimidating team in the world, so we have got to take that away from them.
“The boys know what is ahead of them, everyone knows what is at stake, but because we have had such a good preparation, we can go out there and play without any fear.
“We have got to go out there and make the game, we’ve got to take the game to South Africa. We can’t afford to go in the game and expect South Africa to give us a game.
“So our whole mindset this week is about taking the game to South Africa, playing with no fear, where can we take our game to, what level can we take our game to.”
RISE AND SHINE
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) October 31, 2019
Mako Vunipola will start alongside his brother Billy in an unchanged side for England, and the prop is relishing his chance on the biggest stage.
“I didn’t dream of it, not many people get the opportunity to play in a World Cup final,” he told Sky Sports.
“Me and Billy are very fortunate we get to share it, with our whole family here as well. Once we get out there, it’s just another game. We’ve got to go out there and do our bit for the team and keep it simple.
“[The team] have spent a long time together now and there’s a bond and belief running through the team. We’re very confident of what we have in the group but very aware of the challenge ahead.”
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