By Tom Fordyce
Chief sports writer in Tokyo
|Rugby World Cup semi-final: England v New Zealand|
|Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama Date: Saturday, 26 October Kick-off: 09:00 BST|
|Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.|
England head coach Eddie Jones says all the pressure will be on New Zealand in Saturday’s World Cup semi-final as he claimed his side’s training session on Tuesday had been spied on.
Jones said someone was spotted in an apartment overlooking their pitch but refused to say who it might have been.
“There was definitely someone in the apartment block filming, but it might have been a Japanese fan,” he said.
“We knew it from the start. It doesn’t change anything – we love it.”
The Australian, who said he “used to do it” himself but had not since 2001, joked that England had sent someone of their own to film the All Blacks’ training.
Jones was in ebullient mood as his side prepare for the biggest game of his four-year regime, happy to drop in a number of carefully judged barbs at the three-time world champions and attempt to take all the expectation away from his own team.
He said: “No-one thinks we can win. New Zealand talk about walking towards pressure – well, this week the pressure is going to be chasing them down the street.
“The busiest bloke in Tokyo this week will be Gilbert Enoka, their mental skills coach.
“They have to deal with all this pressure of winning the World Cup three times. It is potentially the last game for their greatest coach and their greatest captain and they will be thinking about those things.
“Those thoughts go through your head. It is always harder to defend a World Cup, and they will be thinking about that, and therefore there is pressure.”
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‘New Zealand players are human’
England have switched their base to Tokyo Bay, next to the city’s Disneyland resort and a good hour from the areas where most supporters will be staying, having previously been in the heart of the city.
On a cold, wet day in the Japanese capital, Jones relished the opportunity to provide fresh storylines around an old rivalry.
England have met the All Blacks once during his time in charge, the 16-15 defeat a year ago when flanker Sam Underhill had what would have been a match-winning try ruled out late on.
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England have not beaten this weekend’s opponents since November 2012, but there are eight survivors in their World Cup squad here who played a part that day, when Manu Tuilagi scored one try and set up two others and Owen Farrell landed 14 points with his boot.
But Jones masterminded a shock World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand as Australia coach in 2003, and had 15 Englishmen in the British and Irish Lions team that secured a series draw against Steve Hansen’s men two years ago.
He said: “Our guys have experienced it – they went down there, they played in their backyard.
“They know they’re human. They bleed, they drop balls, they miss tackles like every other player.
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“It’s our job to take the time and space away so that we put them under pressure.
“We can just go out there and play our game – if we’re good enough we’ll win; if we’re not good enough we’ve done our best.”
‘Everyone in Japan backing All Blacks’
That win at Twickenham seven years ago was England’s only triumph in the past 16 games between the two teams.
And after the All Blacks crushed Ireland in a seven-try 46-14 win in last weekend’s quarter-finals, having beaten the Springboks 23-13 in their opening group game, they are once again the favourites to make it through to a third consecutive World Cup final.
Jones said: “There are 120 million Japanese people out there whose second team are the All Blacks.
“I’ve seen all the All Black jerseys around. Even my wife, I have to tell her to stop barracking for them.
“The Japanese love all that. The Samurais are mystical characters in Japanese history and it’s the same for the All Blacks.
“The Japanese love that – the haka and all that goes around that. That’s their second team.
“So there’s no pressure on us. We’ve just got to have a great week, enjoy it, and relax – train hard and enjoy this great opportunity we’ve got.”
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