South Africa condemn ‘stupid’ spying after Eddie Jones’ claims

Rugby World Cup: Eddie Jones said England training sessions had been spied on

South Africa’s lock RG Snyman, Lood De Jager, Francois Louw and Steven Kitshoff during training ahead of their Rugby World Cup semi-final against Wales. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images

South Africa’s lock RG Snyman, Lood De Jager, Francois Louw and Steven Kitshoff during training ahead of their Rugby World Cup semi-final against Wales. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images

 

South Africa have condemned spying on opponents after England’s head coach Eddie Jones said he had this week spotted one of their training sessions being filmed from a high-rise block in the run-up to Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.

The Springboks face Wales in the second Yokohama semi-final on Sunday. They name their side on Thursday and are waiting for fitness reports on their wing Cheslin Kolbe who aggravated an ankle injury against Japan last weekend.

Asked if South Africa would consider spying on Wales to gain an advantage ahead of the semi-final, the coach Mzwandile Stick replied: “We are trying to keep the game clean as South Africans, led by World Rugby standards. Doing something like that is not part of what we stand for. We are an honest side. I do not think we will ever do something stupid like that.

“You are not only fooling yourself but cheating the whole world. Supporters coming out here want a fair battle between two teams and that is what we always talk about. We do not need something like spying. We all have to play fair and square.”

Wales are ranked by bookmakers as the outsiders to win the World Cup but Stick said the Springboks are preparing for them as they would had they been facing New Zealand or England: “We are expecting a tough battle, especially with their kicking game. They have got a lot of guys who have been around and they like to play for territory. They suffocate teams and do not allow them to come into their half. I do not think that in a week they will try to move away from their game.

“What will be key for us is turning every opportunity we get into points, especially when we get into their 22. We knew the biggest challenge in the quarter-final was containing Japan who look to keep the ball in hand. Now it is a different beast: Wales will give you the ball with their massive kicks, forcing you to play from inside your own half. We have to come up with a plan to get into their half.”

South Africa’s back-row Francois Louw dismissed the odds being offered by bookmakers on Wales who have not lost a competitive match since February’s Six Nations defeat to Ireland in Dublin. “They are there to make money,” he said. “There is no way we are taking Wales lightly. They have been playing consistently well for a number of years, won the [Six Nations] grand slam earlier this year and were top of the world rankings for a few hours or days.

“They are a fantastic outfit, a highly organised, structured side in which players wholeheartedly believe in their systems. They have a very effective defence and while they had a close call against France in the quarter-final, they will take a lot from that. It is play-off rugby. Anything can happen.”

Meanwhile, England defence coach John Mitchell has insisted he “doesn’t see any advantage” in opponents spying on training sessions.

“If that is what they want to do, and that is the way they want to prepare, good luck to them,” he said. “We just happened to be training where there are apartments above our tiny two-metre fence, so I am not sure about what the use of the tarpaulins are.

“The facilities have been excellent but it’s an area where people live and there is the odd red light around. There was one up in the corner, which was a bit suspicious. It doesn’t really worry me. This game is so dynamic now so I don’t see any advantage in spying on a team.”

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