Forwards pass - Jerry Flannery on England's game-changers
England's forwards are good. Pass it on.
Kyle Sinckler made more passes and offloads against New Zealand than the 14 South African forwards combined against Wales. If you wanted to sum up the two styles of play coming up against one another in the Rugby World Cup Final this weekend, that pretty much does it for you.
England go into the clash with the Springboks as favourites, underlined by their destruction of the reigning champions New Zealand 19-7 last weekend. The scoreline does little to tell the story of that game, as England simply ripped apart the All Blacks and never gave them an inch in a terrifyingly dominant performance.
Eddie Jones' coaching pedigree is perhaps underlined best by his World Cup involvements to date; part of the coaching ticket in the 2007 South African triumph over England, Head Coach and mastermind of the Japanese miracle in Brighton against South Africa and now leading an England side carefully crafted and moulded from the ashes of the 2015 World Cup debacle into the showpiece game in world rugby.
But there's more to him than just that.
Speaking on The JOEpan Rugby Show this week, former Munster coach Jerry Flannery highlighted how Eddie Jones' revolution of the English forwards has them playing rugby no one else can match;
"What's really impressed me and what I think the difference was between them (England and New Zealand), obviously England were super fit coming into this World Cup, and that's credit to Eddie Jones, but he's also massively developed the forwards' skill set. So every single time England have the ball, they're asking a question of the opposition defence. It's not a case of, you know you have say Anthony Watson comes in off his wing and carries off a scrum and then you have like a couple of second-rows and a front-row forward carrying the ball and they're not really challenging the opposition defence and they're just setting up one more ruck to actually go and ask. Every single time that England have the ball they ask a question of the defence, and when you see Kyle Sinckler playing those little tip-on passes to Courtney Lawes, when you see him playing that 'circle pass' when he runs to the line and throws it, even when it's not accurate it's just, what it does is it's keeping the ball alive, it's continuity it's something that Northern Hemisphere teams generally don't do to the same level as the Southern Hemisphere teams, for a number of reasons. Skillset, being lower in general, the conditions aren't as favourable towards that... a wet ball, soggy pitches. But England really added that to their game."
It's clear that if South Africa want to beat England, strangling the life out of them in the same manner they have seen off both Japan and Wales in the knockout stages will just not be enough.
On Episode 12 of The JOEpan Rugby Show, Rob O'Hanrahan and Jerry Flannery preview the Rugby World Cup Final between England and South Africa, why England won't care about the Haka fine and how Rassie Erasmus has transformed the Springboks' fortunes. WATCH below: