Cape Town - England coach Eddie Jones believes Allister
Coetzee can turn around South Africa's fortunes after a difficult year for the
Jones's men open their end-of-year campaign against South
Africa at Twickenham on November 12, having won all of their nine previous
tests under the Australian.
Coetzee, like Jones appointed after the World Cup, has had a
far more difficult 2016.
South Africa, only beaten by two points in a World Cup semi-final
loss to eventual champions New Zealand, have lost four of their last five Tests.
Their most recent outing saw them suffer a record 57-15
defeat in Durban by the All Blacks, a team they have traditionally rivalled for
rugby union supremacy.
In trying to catch New Zealand, who recently set a new world
record for a major rugby nation of 18 successive test wins, Coetzee has had to
take South Africa's racial politics into account.
During the apartheid era only white sportsmen, with the odd
exception, were allowed to represent South Africa.
As a result, high-profile sports such as rugby union and
cricket have made moves to field teams that more accurately reflect a country
where 90 percent of the population is black.
The policy has not always been stated explicitly, but in
March the South African Rugby Union backed a government demand that half the
2019 World Cup team be black.
Whether such an approach is good for South African sport
remains a matter of intense debate.
But Jones, who guided Japan to a shock win over South Africa
at last year's World Cup and briefly replaced Coetzee at the Stormers before
taking the England job, said Wednesday: "That's South Africa, mate.
"We always used to have the saying 'T.I.A' which means
'This is Africa'," added Jones, a coaching adviser to the Springbok side
that won the 2007 World Cup.
"They're the cards that you're dealt with and that's
the country that you live in. There's no use complaining about it, you've got
to get on with it and pick the side that suits the country’s politics and
Allister will do that better than anyone else."
Jones was adamant South Africa, who have not lost to England
since 2006, still had enviable rugby resources.
"If you look at the depth of players then they've got
nothing to complain about, they've got enormous depth of players," he
"Everyone wants a strong South African side because
it's good for world rugby."
Coetzee has not been the only coach in the spotlight lately,
with Australia boss Michael Cheika unhappy at being depicted as a clown in a
New Zealand newspaper prior to the All Blacks' record-breaking win over the
Wallabies last weekend.
"We've all been on that side, mate," said Jones,
Australia's coach when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England in Sydney.
"If we lose the game against South Africa then I'll
probably be in the paper next day with a red nose on!," explained Jones,
who oversaw England's 3-0 series win in Australia in June.
But Jones, who played alongside Cheika for Sydney club
Randwick, added: "It's a bit of fun, obviously it's not fun when you're
losing but he'll get over it – he’s a tough boy!"
England will round off 2016 against Australia on December 3,
with Fiji and Argentina also following the Springboks to Twickenham in
Jones will be without at least 10 first-choice players due
to injury but he insisted: "I'm excited about it – it's a chance to build
the depth of the squad.
"In a World Cup year we need to be able to select from
45 guys who can play seven games in a row - we don't have it at the moment.
"It's easy for young guys to come in and play one or
two tests well. The greatness of a player is delivering week in week out over
six or seven Tests."