TOKYO, 22 Oct - England coach Eddie Jones frequently returns to his beloved cricket when explaining his attitude to rugby, and Saturday's semi-final with New Zealand has had him warming to a favourite subject.
England have moved up to second in the world rankings behind the All Blacks. To beat them in Yokohama, Jones, pictured in delivery stride above, will be looking for consistency and a relentless commitment to the gameplan.
In cricketing terms, he wants his players to bowl line and length, keep nagging away just outside off stump, until the best sporting team in the world - according to the head coach - makes an error and edges a catch to slip.
"The good news for us is we can still improve"@EnglandRugby coach Eddie Jones thinks his side can still improve after their 40-16 victory over Australia in the #RWC2019 quarter-finals.#ENGvAUS #RWCOita pic.twitter.com/0Lg1sQ7kkS— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 19, 2019
"If you're bowling against Steve Smith, or Joe Root when he's in form, you've got to be respectful of their ability," Jones said. "But there's a way to get a man out, and the good bowlers are able to work them out and keep there, not go away from the plan, keep digging away.
"But what happens is that people get bored and they try to find the magic solution and that magic solution allows that batsman to get free.
"If you allow them to get free they become a different player, but if you keep them where they don't like to be for long enough you'll get a result. It's the same in rugby.
"If you look at the All Blacks' record, I don't think there is a team that comes close to them for sustainability. Since the last World Cup, I think they've won 90 per cent of their tests. Name me another team in the world that plays at the absolute top level that wins 90 per cent of their games."
Ireland's 46-14 defeat in the quarter-finals serves as a reminder of what can happen when New Zealand's opponents lose focus. The champions are capable of building a big score very quickly to kill off the match.
"What happens is you become part of the show. That happened a bit and Ireland only really got stuck in when the game was lost.
"Against any of the best teams, you have to go hard from the start. That's going to be important for us.
"You can analyse any team but you've got to be good enough to stop them. That's our challenge."
In a big rugby week, Jones would usually fire off some of his trademark barbs to keep the opposition off guard and steer the pre-match media agenda. That is unlikely to happen as the semi-final looms because Jones is genuinely a fan of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who is hoping to end a marvellous tenure with a third successive World Cup triumph for his country and his second at the helm.
Jones and Hansen have real respect for each other's rugby achievements.
"Having a respectful relationship is important in the game. You just have to see this tournament, what it's done," Jones said.
"The things that happen in this tournament don't happen in other sports. You've got the Canadian blokes cleaning up the ground (after Typhoon Hagibis). Could you imagine Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi doing that if Barcelona or Real Madrid get awash? It's a different game.
"And that's why relationships with players, with coaches, with fans are so important in our game.
"Every week I get asked, 'Is this the most important week of your career?'. I've had a lot of important weeks. This is the most exciting week. I can't wait to see where our team can go."