Eddie Jones reveals that he draws unlikely inspiration for the US Navy SEALs’ quest for the World Cup in England after meeting them in California… while hoping to teach his side a lesson in adversity from the special forces dispatched to to kill Osama Bin Laden
- Eddie Jones leads England to next year’s Rugby World Cup in France
- England haven’t won the tournament since their famous win in 2003
- Jones was inspired by the Navy Seals in his preparation
- He hopes his players can learn something about overcoming adversity
Eddie Jones cited the US Special Forces mission to kill Osama bin Laden as an unlikely source of inspiration for his quest to help Britain better adapt to adversity.
After naming a training crew for a three-day camp in London next week, the coach revealed on Monday that he had recently traveled to California to spend a few days with the Navy Seals.
While there, he learned how their 2011 operation in Pakistan, codenamed Neptune Spear, almost went awry, despite lengthy preparation.
Eddie Jones takes inspiration from the Navy SEALs as he prepares for the World Cup
The SEALs’ ability to deal with an unforeseen adversity and complete their mission is an example of the kind of resilience Jones hopes to bring to his team.
He told the story, saying: “I was lucky enough to spend a few days in San Diego about three weeks ago with the Navy Seals, to understand how we can better prepare the players for the unexpected.
“You know the Osama thing – they practiced that project for 12 months, 38 minutes of work. And the first thing they did was wrong. The helicopter hit the wires. They had 12 months to prepare, went through it religiously and they still got something wrong, but then they were able to deal with it and get it done in 38 minutes.
“Look at us now, 12 months until the World Cup. We are preparing for a match with 35 minutes playing time. So the ability to rehearse, to prepare the players for what’s to come – be it the first round, or the second round – is exciting, isn’t it?’
When asked what important lesson he learned from the San Diego field trip, Jones added, “That we train better — we prepare better. We do a form of mini hell week where we have our misogi (a Japanese purification ritual – last year the squad did team raft races).
“I’m about to fly to Jersey and we’re going to look into misogi options as that’s a ritual for the team now. They have to find themselves a bit, find their teammate.’
Jones is eager to improve his squad’s ability to overcome adversity on the pitch during the World Cup
Jones’ focus is on England’s ability to think sharply and adapt to match situations – mainly because of the water carrier restriction, which means it is now more difficult for coaches to deliver messages on the pitch. He spoke repeatedly about how rugby is currently ‘volatile’ and that teams need to solve problems more than ever.
“We saw with New Zealand in the previous test – in the first 20 minutes they lost not one 12 but two and they lost their captain. So you now need a team that can assess what is happening on the field and react very quickly.’
There is a lot of concern within the sport about inconsistent timetables and interpretations of the law, and Jones addressed that with signature humor ahead of the autumn tests against Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa.
“Referees are just like us,” he said. “When you wake up thinking you’re going to have a great day, your wife says something and you’re like, ‘Ah, shit, this is going to be a bad day!’ Or the dog has pooped on the carpet.
‘Refs are like people; you have an idea of what they will be like, but they can change. Someone can say something to them on their way to the ground.’
Stuart Lancaster put an end to any talk of a return to England on Monday when he confirmed he will be moving to French giants Racing 92 next season.
Lancaster was sacked as England head coach after leading the humiliation of the 2015 World Cup, but has impressed as a senior coach at the Irish province of Leinster.
Current England boss Jones will leave his role after next year’s World Cup, but Lancaster’s Racing switch means he will not replace him.
“It’s a great opportunity for me and the family to experience a different culture and environment and come back as number 1 at a big club,” Lancaster said.
The 52-year-old will succeed Laurent Travers after signing a four-year contract with the Paris club.
Stuart Lancaster ruled out as Jones successor after taking a job at Racing 92