Eddie Jones has urged his players to seize the life-changing opportunity which lies in front of them at Yokohama Stadium on Saturday.
The national coach made a statement of conviction by naming an unchanged team, then delivered a statement of intent to galvanise his squad for the last phase of their global conquest mission.
Jones kept emphasising a ‘no fear’ mantra as he spoke about his young team going into the World Cup final against South Africa.
Eddie Jones has urged his England players to seize a life changing opportunity on Saturday
The England head coach has lead the team to the Rugby World Cup final against South Africa
His intention is to ensure that this grandest of all rugby occasions inspires rather than inhibits them. This was Jones in his Mr Motivator element, using all his charisma and skill as an orator to get across the message that the defining event which lies ahead is one to savour.
‘We will play with no fear,’ he said. ‘How fantastic is it for the young bunch of guys we have? Every sporting person out there is looking at the game. Saturday night is the biggest sporting event in the world — and our players get to play in that arena. What an exciting opportunity to be themselves, to play with spirit, to play with pride and an English style.’
Warming to his pressure-diffusing theme, Jones went on to address the potential ramifications of ultimate glory tomorrow. For the players, coaches and staff, it would be life-changing. And for the sport in the country, it would be a once-in-a-generation boost, as it was when England won the Webb Ellis Cup in 2003.
Here's how the two finalists line up as well as their respective routes to Saturday's showdown
England are winning the hearts and minds of the nation after their win over New Zealand
‘They can inspire a whole country now,’ said Jones. ‘They can inspire a sporting community. That’s the opportunity they’ve got and all the messages that we’ve seen back in England show that there’s a bit of a rugby fever going on. Mums are telling kids, “Play rugby, be the next Kyle Sinckler, be the next Ellis Genge” — that’s the opportunity they’ve got.
‘It changes how the country feels about itself. It might change again at the next General Election, but for a period it changes how people feel about themselves. That’s the greatest joy.
‘Again, if I look back at Japan and look at the growth of rugby in Japan from what we did in 2015, it’s spectacular. People in Japan love rugby now, they didn’t before. You’ve got this opportunity to change people’s lives through the ability to play rugby, it’s a gift.’
Rassie Erasmus, the