Twickenham - England coach Eddie Jones has advised Japan to
go to the temple and pray as he promised to show no mercy when the team he
coached at the 2015 Rugby World Cup come to Twickenham.
England will head into the November 17 clash buoyed, if
ultimately frustrated by a hugely encouraging display in an agonising 16-15
loss to reigning world champions New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.
That result, allied to England's 12-11 win over South Africa
in their opening November international, has calmed the fevered debate over
Jones' future that erupted after a run of five straight defeats earlier this
Jones knows how much Japan would love to cause another shock
on English soil having guided them to a stunning 34-32 win over South Africa in
Brighton during the last World Cup - a result now widely regarded as the
biggest upset in rugby union history.
Japan captain Michael Leitch was quoted as saying recently
"we've been bullied a lot by Eddie and would like to give it back by
beating England as a sign of gratitude".
Jones responded with a stark warning for his old side.
"Pray, pray, pray. Go to the temple and pray. Just
pray, it's the best thing," he said. "We're going to be absolutely
ruthless. If I was Japan I'd be worried.
"I know they're going to come full of confidence. I've
heard some of the things they've said, they've been a bit cheeky so look
Jones plans to name his strongest available side for the
Japan match, amid talk he might use a game against a 'lesser' opponent as a
chance to give fringe players Test experience.
He will, however, have to wait for injury updates on lock
George Kruis (calf) and hooker Dylan Hartley, the England co-captain, (thumb).
Meanwhile, centre Manu Tuilagi's long-awaited international
comeback following knee, chest, groin and hamstring injuries may well be put on
Jones, asked how England would prepare for Japan, replied:
"Sushi and sake!"
But he was in more serious mood when asked about resting
players from the match against the Brave Blossoms.
"It's not logical. That's illogical. How am I going to
train them? I've got three days to train them.
"It's a good test for us to see how cohesive we can get
in a short period of time, which mimics the World Cup."
Jones, who made his name as a Test coach in charge of his
native Australia, added: "Japan are the highest-kicking team in the world,
they've got a really good defence system and they've got some good young
players coming through."
And he insisted there would be no question of England
playing 'festival rugby' against the 2019 World Cup hosts.
"We're taking it seriously and that's why we have to be
absolutely ruthless about the game," he said. "If you want to come
out and watch a Barbarians game, don't come out, stay home."