Eddie Jones dismisses South Africa fan confrontation
Springboks’ comeback victory a morale boost for new manager Rassie Erasmus
England look dejected during the first test match between South Africa and England at Elllis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
Eddie Jones was involved in a confrontation with South Africa fans as England fell to a thrilling 42-39 defeat at Ellis Park on Saturday. Supporters leaned over the railings and verbally insulted Jones as he walked down the tunnel at the end of the first Test. The Australian stood his ground for 10 to 15 seconds and engaged with his tormentors before being ushered away by players and staff.
“They (South Africa fans) have always got plenty to say. Especially when they win,” Jones said after the match. “I was just asking them where I could get a good bottle of Pinotage. I’m still waiting for the answer so if anyone can help me out, please help me out.
“They told me to go find it myself, so I’ll have to go find it myself. That’s what happened, that’s what I asked him. When I asked where I can get a nice bottle of Pinotage from, he didn’t respond. I might go back and see him later. I wouldn’t worry about that because it was such a great game of rugby. Don’t worry about one little conversation about a bottle of red wine in the tunnel.”
New South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus said after the game that he wants to ditch the predictable characteristics of Springbok rugby and be bolder in his strategy as the team looks ahead to next year’s World Cup in Japan. “We will have to make brave choices ahead of the World Cup,” explained the former Munster coach. “We will lose matches. We have to learn and build. We will have to make bold calls. We cannot always be conservative.”
South Africa’s win at Ellis Park on Saturday came in Erasmus’s second game in charge and, despite the narrow margin of victory, proved a major morale booster after South Africa, who have slipped to seventh in the world rankings, had forced their way back after going 24-3 down in the 17th minute. “It certainly wasn’t the start we wanted in our first Test at home and I was worried, because we had a lot of young players against a very experienced England side.
“It certainly could’ve gone from bad to worse, but credit to Siya (Kolisi), Duane (Vermeulen), Beast (Mtawarira) and Handre (Pollard), our senior players, for getting us back on track. Still, we only scraped through in the end and we made too many errors, so there is a lot for us to work on. When we managed to keep the ball, England were under the same stress we were early in the game.
“I’m proud of the guys – they showed character and it’s something we can take forward.” But Erasmus said success had been narrow. “They could have put us away. We also could have put them away. We were sloppy at some stages when we could have been clinical.”