Eddie Jones reveals samurai sword had role in RWC win over ABs

Source: 1News

England rugby coach Eddie Jones has shared the bizarre tale of how he inspired his team to their infamous Rugby World Cup semi-final win over the All Blacks in 2019 - thanks to a samurai sword.

Eddie Jones reacts after the 2019 RWC semi-final.

The All Blacks were denied a third-straight final appearance in Yokohama after Jones' men outclassed the New Zealand side 19-7.

However, Jones revealed in his new book - Extracts from Leadership: Lessons from my life in rugby - heading into the match, he wasn't so certain such a performance was coming.

The All Blacks had six-straight wins over England heading into the contest which appeared to be on the minds of the team at training.

"Three days [before the Test], on the Wednesday, I felt we weren't quite there in training," Jones said.

"We weren't sharp enough for the All Blacks."

Jones said he was able to instil belief in his team in the changing sheds, but not in the way many would expect.

"People might expect that, before we beat the All Blacks, I would have made a defining, tub-thumping speech of leadership to inspire an exceptional performance. I was, instead, pretty low-key and measured that evening.

"[On Wednesday] evening, I brought a samurai sword into the team room. It was impressive and authentic and I had spent a fair amount of money on it from an antique shop in Tokyo. I also brought in some kiwi fruit. You could say it was cheesy, rather than fruity, but I used the samurai sword to scythe them in two. The blade was so sharp that the kiwi fruits split apart in an instant.

"'There you go, boys,' I said. 'See how we do it now?'

"The players were laughing but a few of them shot me a look as if to say, 'S**t, this guy is nuts.' I still walked around the room with the samurai sword and made them all feel the deadly blade."

Jones admitted the idea was out there.

"If we had lost, people would have been entitled to say: 'How stupid was all that stuff with the samurai sword?' But it makes a good story and we can say we brought out the sword and a small tray of kiwi fruit before one of England's most famous victories."

Jones said from that unique spark came the idea to respond to the haka.

"From there we developed the idea of facing down the haka in a V formation with Owen Farrell at the head of it.

"We also had a very rigorous meeting with the players' leadership group the next morning and I pointed out some of the minor problems. The players addressed them and got it right.

"We won the game."

Unfortunately for Jones, England went on to lose the final to South Africa.