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England’s Durban base surprises Rassie

Cape Town – England’s decision to set up camp in Durban this week has surprised Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus.

The Boks and England meet in the first of three Tests in Johannesburg on Saturday, yet Eddie Jones has instead opted to spend the week training on South Africa’s east coast at sea level instead of acclimatising to the altitude up on the highveld.

The England squad is only expected to travel to Johannesburg on Thursday and it is a decision that Erasmus is puzzled by.

“We had to make that decision … to fly on the Sunday to the United States or on the Wednesday,” Erasmus explained after his side’s 22-20 loss to Wales in Washington this past weekend.

“We travelled on the Wednesday and you could see in the first half that we were a bit flat, although we tried everything.

“I am surprised that when they (England) could have had the benefit of staying here (Johannesburg) for a week, they have stayed in Durban.

“It’s going to be interesting. Maybe they’ve got other plans of how to tackle the altitude, but normally it catches up with you when you don’t stay at altitude.”

Erasmus also responded to Jones’ comments over the weekend suggesting that he knew exactly what to expect from the Boks.

“If you look at how we played on the weekend then we look very predictable. Hopefully we don’t play like that … that’s not the plan.” Erasmus said.

“Hopefully the conditions at Ellis Park are nice and we get an open game.

“He (Jones) will go back to the way we played at Munster and analyse Jacques’s (Nienaber) defence and he’ll look at (Mzwandile) Stick’s attack and Swys’s (De Bruin) Lions attack.

“That’s just the kind of guy he is … he is very particular about his analysis and he’ll have his ducks in a row.”

Kick-off on Saturday is at 16:00.

England will also be returning to Durban after the first Test to prepare for the second Test in Bloemfontein.

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