Eddie Jones: England head coach calls for referee respect and jokes Springboks boss Rassie Erasmus might sneak into Twickenham

Adam Kyriacou
Eddie Jones and Rassie Erasmus split

England head coach Eddie Jones believes match officials should be shown respect and joked that Springboks boss Rassie Erasmus will find a way into Twickenham on Saturday.

Speaking ahead of their Autumn Nations Series meeting, the Red Rose head coach was quizzed about the recent criticism and abuse referees have been subjected to.

Such abuse was levelled at experienced official Wayne Barnes and his family on social media following South Africa’s 30-26 defeat to France earlier in the month.

Erasmus was recently given a two-match ban for sarcastic tweets criticising officials and Jones spoke about the Springboks director of rugby ahead of the fixture.

Do a Jose Mourinho?

“Rassie might come in a laundry box! That’s been done before hasn’t it? Usually by the Tottenham manager! I’m sure he will get in there somehow,” Jones said.

“The only thing I’d say is that we have to respect the referees and look after the referees. They’re an important part of our game. What’s happened, happened.”

Jones has made four changes to his starting line-up that drew with the All Blacks last weekend, as he looks to finish the year off on a high note at Twickenham.

Out go Ellis Genge, Jack Nowell, Sam Simmonds and Luke Cowan-Dickie, with Mako Vunipola, Tommy Freeman, Alex Coles and Jamie George coming in.

“We were pleased with Jack last week but feel that Tommy Freeman is coming into some form. He’s got good pace and will add something to the team,” Jones said.

“We have been really pleased by Alex’s progress. He’s someone who wasn’t in our immediate picture when we started the autumn, but because of injuries and other issues he has made his way into the squad, done really well and put himself in the reckoning for a World Cup spot.

“He is playing against some of the best players in the world. While he won’t be directly up against Eben Etzebeth, he’ll play against him and they are great learning opportunities.”

50 up for Manu Tuilagi

It promises to be a special occasion for Manu Tuilagi, who will earn his 50th cap for England on Saturday, with injuries limiting his outings over the years.

“It’s been a difficult time for Manu. The pleasing thing for us is that for three weeks he’s been involved in every training session,” said head coach Jones.

“Yesterday (Wednesday) we did quite a tough session and he got through everything. We are really pleased about his progress. And the progress of the team.

“This is another opportunity for the team to step up. We started slowly in the first game of the autumn against Argentina and weren’t at our best, but with each game we’ve got a little bit better.”

READ MORE: England: Manu Tuilagi wins 50th cap as Mako Vunipola, Tommy Freeman and Alex Coles handed starts