LONDON (AFP) – England coach Eddie Jones said yesterday he wanted his players “close to normal life” during the 2019 World Cup in Japan after taking his backroom staff on a reconnaissance mission to the country.
The back-to-back Six Nations champions will likely be one of the favourites as they go in search of a second World Cup title to follow their 2003 triumph – when Clive Woodward’s side beat an Australia team coached by Jones in the final in Sydney.
Now Jones, also a former Japan coach, plans to take members of his England staff to Tokyo, Yokohama, Miyazaki and Kobe while looking at venues such as potential training bases and hotels.
“There are two years to go so we are getting to the very serious part of the build-up to the Rugby World Cup,” said Jones.
“I wanted to bring some of my staff over here from each department to start to familiarise themselves with Japan and understand the possible climatic conditions as well as get a feel of what it is going to be like to play in the World Cup here,” added the Australian, whose mother and wife are both Japanese.
England will face Argentina, having won a Test series 2-0 away to the South Americans in June, France, the United States and Tonga in the pool phase.
But Jones said success in Japan would also depend on adjusting to the local climate and culture.
“People don’t have the impression of Japan being a hot country,” Jones said. “It’s not seen as a hot and humid country for foreigners.
“The English in particular describe Japan as the ‘Far East’ which is a lovely quaint old term.
“In Japan it’s important to establish relationships in person,” the 57-year-old explained.
“Everything needs to be done face to face so it’s an opportunity for our staff to build key relationships with Japanese rugby.”
England plan to arrive in Japan ahead of the World Cup in early September 2019 and Jones was adamant he did not want his squad to be based in isolated venues.
“We want to be in locations that are close to normal life, so we want our players to train hard and walk on the street and go for a coffee,” he said.
“We’ve got a pretty good idea of when we’ll arrive and we’re just finalising our pre-World Cup camps and where they will be.
We’ll look to come here around September 3-6 and there is a possibility of playing a warm-up game shortly after that. We are looking to play similar teams to the ones we face in the pool stages.”