Eddie Jones ‘just having fun’ over call for England to smash Japan

England coach Eddie Jones, who led Japan to their famous win over South Africa in the 2015 World Cup, said he was joking around when he said on Saturday that England were aiming to physically smash his former team.

The former Wallabies boss, whose side lost to New Zealand 16-15 at the weekend, said he was keen to see his side take out its frustrations by hammering the Japanese on their first visit to Twickenham on Saturday.

Just jokes: Eddie Jones has clarified his comments about England's approach to Japan this weekend.

Just jokes: Eddie Jones has clarified his comments about England's approach to Japan this weekend.Credit:AP

But Australian Jones, whose mother is Japanese/American, said on Tuesday: "I love Japan, love the players, I was just having a bit of fun.

"But it's potentially a difficult game for us and we have to have the right mindset and that's to smash the Japanese."


Japan coach Jamie Joseph, who like Jones will name his team on Friday (AEDT) and is without some key players, recognised that they faced the stiffest of physical tests.

"I'm not sure we can run away from the big boys. One to 15 they are pretty big compared to our blokes," said the former All Blacks flanker.

"Rugby is pretty simple – you have got to create momentum from set pieces and that is our first challenge and we are working on that.

"When we can do that we can score tries and we did that against the All Blacks and we have done it against tier-one teams, France and Wales.

"But we are playing at Twickenham and the players are going to experience a different style. The game in England is very different to other parts of the world."

In terms of team selection, England lock George Kruis has been ruled out of the Japan clash and the fixture against Australia the following week due to a calf injury, the Rugby Football Union has confirmed.

The injury-plagued Saracens second row was replaced by Charlie Ewels in the 66th minute in the loss to New Zealand last weekend, limping heavily as he left the field.

In his absence and with Joe Launchbury also missing, Maro Itoje is expected to line-up alongside Courtney Lawes or Ewels against Japan.

Jones retained a group of 30 players on Tuesday, including uncapped quartet Ted Hill, Nick Schonert, Elliott Stooke and Joe Cokanasiga, but there was again no place for fullback Mike Brown.

Jones said that Manu Tuilagi was still at "99.9 per cent, just hasn't got that top speed yet" and was unlikely to be involved.

He said he would check on the thumb injury that forced co-captain Dylan Hartley off at halftime against New Zealand.

"He couldn't grip the scrum properly in the first half," Jones explained. "We would probably have kept him on a bit longer."

England squad

Forwards: Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby), Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs), Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Elliott Stooke (Bath Rugby), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons).

Backs: Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Teo (Worcester Warriors), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

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