LONDON -- Eddie Jones was fulsome in his praise for the current state of South African rugby saying Rassie Erasmus has the best aligned structure to work with for a "number of years", and has told England to prepare for the most "physically intimidating ground in the world".
Jones named a 34-man party for England's three-Test tour of South Africa, featuring eight uncapped players. With 20 players either rested or injured, there is a youthful look to the squad with opportunities, but Jones is resolute in his ambition for this party: he wants England to go and create history by winning 3-0 on South African soil.
The England coach knows their opposition well, having acted as a coaching consultant for the Springboks' 2007 Rugby World Cup triumph. After the 2015 global gathering, Jones was unveiled as Stormers boss, only to leave after just eight days in the role to take up the England post. So he is well versed in the nuances of South African rugby and says it is an exciting time to be a Springboks fan as Erasmus prepares for his first Test in charge.
"It's fascinating for me having worked there," Jones said. "Now you have four teams working together for the good of the Springboks. They've discovered the word 'alignment'."
"They've got more control over their players, they've got the Super Rugby teams working towards the national team so it's a fantastic opportunity for them.
"They've got a great coach is Rassie Erasmus, he was a very creative coach for the Cheetahs, had a time with the Stormers, he came and did a good job at Munster, he's a bright guy -- driven -- he always wanted to be the Springbok coach and now he's got the opportunity in probably the best landscape they've had for a number of years."
Jones is prepared for a "reinvigorated team" and wants England to "play better rugby in South Africa" than they did in their dismal Six Nations. With the challenge of winning 3-0 laid down to the young party.
"It's a mission for us, we're on a mission for England rugby and the mission is to win in South Africa. And so if we felt the players could add to that mission, we picked them. If we felt they couldn't, we didn't pick them."
Up first for England will be the Springboks in Johannesburg at Ellis Park on June 9. England have won just three of their previous 13 Tests on South African soil -- coming in 1972, 1994 and 2000 -- and Jones has told his team to marry physicality with mental toughness.
"Johannesburg is the spiritual home of Springbok rugby," Jones said. "It's where they've played some of their greatest Tests, it's probably the most physically intimidating ground in the world. To win a Test there you need people at their best physically and emotionally and that's our target."