AFPLONDON (AFP-Jiji) — England coach Eddie Jones said Thursday 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 favorites 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 in a Rugby Football Union statement.
“I wanted to bring some of my staff over here from each department to start to familiarize 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 faces Argentina, which 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.”