England head coach Eddie Jones has claimed his side were spied on during a training session ahead of their Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand on Saturday.
Jones did not directly accuse the All Blacks of snooping on his squad from an adjacent apartment block overlooking their training ground in Tokyo and said it could have been a Japanese fan.
The Australian later admitted he had spied on rival teams in the past but had not done so since 2001 because there was no value as each side’s playing style was known so well to each other.
There was definitely someone in the apartment block filming but it might have been a Japanese fan. We don’t care, mate, Jones said.
You just don’t need to do it anymore. You can watch everyone’s training on YouTube. There’s no value in doing that sort of thing anymore.
He added: We knew it from the start, it doesn’t change anything, we love it.
Jones: Pressure on All Blacks
England dispatched Australia 40-16 on Saturday to reach the semi-finals for the first time in 12 years.
Jones described the build-up to last-four encounter – a meeting between the two best ranked sides in the world – as the most exciting week of the rugby calendar and insisted all the pressure was on the reigning World Cup champions.
Asked whether he thought New Zealand were under more pressure than England, he replied: We don’t have any pressure.
Put up your hand if you think we can win…there you go, so no one thinks we can win.
There’s 120 million Japanese people out there whose second team are the All Blacks.
So there’s no pressure on us we’ve just got to have a great week, enjoy it, relax, train hard, and enjoy this great opportunity that we’ve got.
Whereas they’ve got to be thinking about, well, they are looking for their third World Cup so that does bring some pressure.
New Zealand have not lost a knockout match at the World Cup since a quarter-final defeat against France in 2007 but Jones was defiant his side are not overawed by the All Blacks aura.
They know they are human. They bleed, they drop balls, they miss tackles like every other player, he added.
It is our job to take the time and space away so we put them under pressure. New Zealand talk about them walking towards the pressure. Well this week the pressure is going to be chasing them down the street.
That is the reality of it. That is how we are approaching the game. We have got nothing to lose.
That is the exciting thing for us. We can just go out there, play our game and play it as well as we can. If we are good enough we will win, if we are not good enough we have done our best.
‘We’ve prepared for All Blacks for two-and-a-half years’
Jones, whose side fell agonisingly short of toppling New Zealand in an autumn international last year, suggested his side had prepared for this fixture against Steve Hansen’s side since the draw two years ago.
You’ve got the top four teams in the world now and on one Saturday you’ve got to be the best team for 80 minutes, he said.
We’ve prepared for this game for two-and-a-half years. We are just excited by the possibility.
The World Cup-winning coach with Australia in 2003 also made a jibe about the New Zealand media claiming its rugby reporters are just just fans with keyboards.
Asked whether he believed New Zealand would read his comments: Well, someone has to ask some questions because the New Zealand media doesn’t.
You guys are just fans with a keyboard, so someone has to ask them some questions on what is going on. The English media – one week ago I was going to get sacked, we couldn’t play so we deal with a completely different situation.
Jones said he was hopeful both Jonny May and Jack Nowell would be fit in time for the All Blacks contest in Yokohama after taking part in training but replacement scrum-half Willi Heinz was absent as a precaution.
May, who scored two tries against the Wallabies at the weekend, is expected to overcome a hamstring problem while Nowell has been sidelined with ankle and hamstring injuries.