Hot and humid Japan will suit England – Jones

England arrived in Miyazaki on Tuesday
2019 Rugby World Cup
Hosts: Japan Dates: 20 September to 2 November
Coverage: Full commentary on every game across BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

England coach Eddie Jones says the hot and humid conditions at the Rugby World Cup in Japan will suit his players.

England open their campaign against Tonga under the roof in Sapporo next Saturday (11:15 BST).

They have been preparing in Miyazaki in the far south of the country, where humidity has been as high as 90% since the squad arrived.

“We’ve prepared for it and it’s obviously a big part of rugby in Japan in September and October,” said Jones.

“We feel like playing in the humidity will give us an advantage. The players have adjusted really well.”

England are training at the same seaside resort where Jones based his Japan team before the 2015 World Cup, when they famously produced one of the great tournament upsets by beating two-time champions South Africa.

But those previous successes – Jones also took Australia to the final in 2003, and was an assistant to Springboks coach Jake White when they beat England in the final four years later – carry little weight this week with the 59-year-old.

“I’m always nervous. I wake up every morning thinking what bad things could happen to the team, and when I stop having that feeling it’s probably time for me to leave the game,” said the Australian.

“Observing the players is important – who is going to cope with that different environment and who isn’t going to cope – because you see in a World Cup that players really grow or really shrink.

“Success for us at this World Cup is being at our best.

“The one thing we can’t control is the result. What we can control is how we prepare for the tournament and then the way we play. If we play well then the results are going to be pretty positive.”

Miyazaki, a city of just under 400,000 people, is a summer holiday destination for Japanese people, but with autumn approaching the England hotel has something of a ghost-town feel.

The players have taken part in a traditional tea ceremony since arriving and have also tried Japanese archery and paddleboarding as Jones looks to bed them in to a very different culture.

Jones told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I want the boys to not only embrace the tournament and be at their best, but also to embrace the culture of Japan, find out about the country and learn a bit more about themselves in a different situation.

“There’s a couple of things about World Cups. You want to play your best and you want to win, but you also want to look back on it as an enjoyable experience, because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Jones’ captain Owen Farrell was part of the England team that crashed out of the World Cup at the group stage four years ago, the only host nation in the tournament’s history to fail to make the knockout rounds.

But the 27-year-old says those disappointments do not haunt the team as they look to progress beyond the last eight for the first time in 12 years.

“2015 is not a motivation for me. It’s a long time ago, the team has grown and hopefully we as individuals have grown,” said Farrell.

“We feel like we’re in a good place. Everyone from the outside will compare things to 2015 – but we’re not doing that in the camp.

“Everybody’s loving it here in Japan. Because I’d heard it was so different, I didn’t really have many expectations, and we’ve come out here and it’s been brilliant.”

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