Cape Town - England coach Eddie Jones believes his knowledge of the South African game can help him steer his side to a first-ever away series win over the Springboks.
Jones’ England are under pressure heading to South Africa for next month's series.
Last Sunday’s 63-45 defeat to the Barbarians at Twickenham was their fourth straight loss, following three consecutive defeats to finish the Six Nations in fifth position.
But Jones remains confident ahead of the tour and in an interview with English publication, The Guardian, he claimed he knows South Africa’s “rugby psyche” as well as anyone.
“I probably understand the South African rugby psyche as well as any having had experiences there. And I know what they are going to be like when they play England. There are certain cultural issues between the two countries that provide great motivation for the South Africans,” he said.
Jones was on the coaching staff for South Africa’s 2007 World Cup triumph in France and masterminded Japan’s 2015 World Cup victory against the Boks.
Jones expects a hostile environment for opening Test in Johannesburg on June 9.
“You have to be able to exploit that and use it in a positive way. How can you use their dislike of the English to create an opportunity for yourself because you know at Ellis Park they will be unbelievably passionate and aggressive for the first 20 minutes. That creates opportunities for us. We have to be good enough to understand those opportunities and execute them.
“First it is about creating an understanding of (the history). They need to understand why English teams haven’t won there in the past and then come up with an approach of how we will be ourselves. Like in any game of rugby, any physical contact sport, you have to understand the psychology of the opposition. You have to understand where they get their strength from.”
The second Test is scheduled for Bloemfontein (June 16), while the series will conclude in Cape Town on June 23.
Over the years, England have won only three of 13 Tests against the Boks in South Africa.
On their last visit in 2012, the Boks won the series 2-0, with the final Test in Port Elizabeth ending in a 14-all draw.
England won the most recent Test between the nations 37-21 at Twickenham in 2016.