Eddie Jones takes unlikely inspiration for England’s rugby World Cup campaign from the US Navy Seals

Eddie Jones reveals he’s taking unlikely inspiration for England’s World Cup quest from the US Navy SEALs after meeting them in California… as he hopes to teach his side a lesson in adversity from the Special Forces sent to kill Osama Bin Laden

  • Eddie Jones will lead England to the rugby World Cup in France next year
  • England have not won the tournament since their famous victory in 2003
  •  Jones has been taking inspiration from the Navy Seals in his preparation
  • He is hoping his players can learn something about overcoming adversity

Eddie Jones cited the mission by US Special Forces to kill Osama bin Laden as unlikely inspiration for his quest to make England better at adapting to adversity.

After naming a training squad for a three-day camp in London next week, the coach yesterday revealed that he recently travelled to California to spend a couple of days with the Navy Seals. While there, he learned about how their operation in Pakistan in 2011, codenamed Neptune Spear, so nearly went wrong, despite prolonged preparation.

The SEALs’ ability to handle an unforeseen setback and complete their mission is an example of the sort of resilience that Jones hopes to instil in his squad.

Eddie Jones has been taking inspiration from the Navy Seals as he prepares for the World Cup

Talking up the tale, he said: ‘I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days out in San Diego about three weeks ago with the Navy Seals — understanding how we can prepare the players better to cope with the unexpected.

‘You know the Osama thing — they practised that project for 12 months, for 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 get something wrong, but then they were able to cope with it and get it done within 38 minutes.

‘Look at us now, 12 months to the World Cup. We’re preparing for a game that’s got 35 minutes’ ball-in-play time. So the ability to dress-rehearse, prepare the players for what’s coming up —whether it’s the first round, second round — is exciting, isn’t it?’

Asked what over-riding lesson he took from the San Diego excursion, 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).

England have not won the tournament since their famous victory in 2003

England have not won the tournament since their famous victory in 2003

‘I’m about to fly out to Jersey and we’re going to look at the misogi options because that’s a ritual for the team now. They have to find themselves a bit, find their team-mate.’

Jones’ focus is on England’s ability to think on their feet and adapt to match situations — especially due to the restriction on water carriers meaning it is now harder for coaches to deliver messages on to the field. He spoke repeatedly about how rugby is ‘volatile’ at the moment and that teams have to problem-solve 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 need a team now that can assess what’s happening on the field and respond really quickly.’

Jones is keen to improve his side's ability to overcome adversity on the pitch

Jones is keen to improve his side’s ability to overcome adversity on the pitch

Concerns are rife within the sport about inconsistent officiating and law interpretations, and Jones addressed that with trademark humour, ahead of autumn Tests against Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa.

‘Referees are like us,’ he said. ‘When you wake up, you can think you’re going to have a great day, then your wife says something and you think, “Ah, s**t, this is going to be a terrible day”! Or the dog’s done a poo on the carpet.

‘Refs are like humans; you have an idea of what they’re going to be like, but they can change. Someone may say something to them on the way to the ground.’

Stuart Lancaster yesterday ended any talk of an England return when he confirmed he will join French giants Racing 92 next season.

Stuart Lancaster has been ruled out as Jones successor after taking a job with Racing 92

Stuart Lancaster has been ruled out as Jones successor after taking a job with Racing 92

Lancaster was sacked as England head coach after presiding over the team’s 2015 World Cup humiliation, but has impressed as senior coach with Irish province Leinster. Current England boss Eddie Jones will leave his role after next year’s World Cup, but Lancaster’s Racing switch means he won’t replace him.

‘It’s an amazing opportunity for me and the family to experience a different culture and environment and go back in as a No 1 at a big club,’ Lancaster said.

The 52-year-old will succeed Laurent Travers after signing a four-year deal with the Paris club.

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