London - Eddie Jones has urged England to follow the example
of Muhammad Ali's celebrated 'Rumble in the Jungle' bout against George Foreman
when they face South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.
England are unbeaten in their nine Tests under Jones - a sequence
that includes a Six Nations Grand Slam and a 3-0 series win in Australia.
But they begin their end-of-year international campaign
seeking a first victory over the Springboks since 2006, a winless spell
encompassing 12 matches.
Jones said taking the Springboks on at their own power game
was the way to ensure another defeat against a side who, in the Australian's
typically vivid phrase, treat rugby union as a sport of "chess with
He added that England would need a boldly different
strategy, citing how Ali upset the odds to regain the world heavyweight title
from Foreman, widely regarded as one of boxing's most fearsome punchers, in
Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1974.
Ali took the seemingly high-risk approach of beckoning
Foreman forward while laying back on the ropes - what became known as the
'rope-a-dope' - before knocking out his exhausted opponent in the eighth round.
"Against a physically aggressive side, you've got to
play smart," Jones said.
"We won't be shying away from the physical side of the
game, but when Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman, if he went toe-to-toe with
him he was going to lose, so he had to find other ways of getting around him.
"We don't want to go toe-to-toe with South Africa
because that's what they want to do.
"South Africa play the game like it's a physical game
of chess - like chess with steroids," added Jones, who was a member of the
Springboks' backroom staff along with current head coach Allister Coetzee when
they won the 2007 World Cup.
"The challenge for us is to be tactically smart."
Jones has recalled Tom Wood in the absence of the injured
James Haskell for his first Test since last year's World Cup, with the flanker
told to "stop the Springboks on the gain-line.
In the backs, Jones has given a first Test start to Elliot
Daly, with the Wasps midfielder, known, for his big left boot and speed off the
mark, displacing Jonathan Joseph.
South Africa have lost four of their last five Tests but the
much-travelled Jones, who in between coaching Japan to a shock World Cup win
over the Springboks and taking over the England job was briefly in charge of
South African provincial side the Stormers, remained wary.
He cited Stormers locks Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du
Toit as potential threats.
"I had the pleasure of meeting Etzebeth and du Toit
when I was Stormers coach for two weeks - very impressive young boys. Etzebeth
is from a very tough family, physically aggressive, has great natural body
height for a big guy, good jumping skills and a real desire to win.
"Du Toit has nice jumping skills, a bit more of a
cerebral player than Etzebeth."
South Africa outside centre Francois Venter has been given a
Test debut after impressing in last week's 31-31 draw with the Barbarians at
Coetzee has made several changes to the team beaten a record
57-15 by world champions New Zealand in Durban last month, with a back-row
injury crisis seeing du Toit moved from lock to flank.
"He has a phenomenal work rate," said Coetzee.
"He runs good lines as a ball carrier as well."
As for talk of South Africa going 'Bok to basics', Coetzee
said: "It will be a proper Test match and it will most likely start up
Turning to Jones, he added: "The guy does not leave any
stone unturned, He's thorough and a competitive man.
"He will never disrespect South Africa, he will never
take us lightly irrespective of the Rugby Championship that we have had."
Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny
May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Wood, 6
Chris Robshaw, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan
Hartley (captain), 1 Mako Vunipola
Substitutes: 16 Jamie George,
17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21
Danny Care, 22 Ben Te'o, 23 Jonathan Joseph
Willie le Roux, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Damian de
Allende, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Warren
Whiteley, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Lood de Jager, 4
Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18
Lourens Adriaanse, 19, Franco Mostert, 20, Nizaam Carr, 21, Faf de
Klerk, 22, Johan Goosen, 23 Lionel Mapoe