Rugby World Cup 2019: Jones hits back at Gatland, delivers positive England injury update

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A smiling Eddie Jones hit back at Warren Gatland in typically mischievous fashion after the outgoing Wales coach appeared to question whether England would "turn up" in the Rugby World Cup final.

England produced a sensational performance on Saturday to dethrone two-time defending champions New Zealand, triumphing 19-7 as the likes of Maro Itoje, Sam Underhill and George Ford excelled.

Jones' side will face South Africa in a repeat of the 2007 final, the Springboks having edged out Wales 19-16 in Sunday's second last-four contest to deny Gatland a triumphant send-off.

Following Wales' loss, Gatland said: "We have seen in previous World Cups that teams sometimes play their final in semi-finals and don’t always turn up for a final. So it will be interesting to see how England are next week."

When those comments were put to Jones on Monday, the Australian broke into a grin and replied: "Well, guys, can you just send my best wishes to Warren to make sure he enjoys the third and fourth place play-off."

Jones was able to deliver positive injury updates on Jonny May and skipper Owen Farrell. May was a doubt for the semi-final against the All Blacks due to a hamstring injury and limped off early in the second half, while Farrell relinquished kicking duties to Ford after taking a knock in the opening 40.

"We had a walk through this morning and we had to tell Jonny to slow down a bit," Jones said of May. "He is probably in better condition than he was last week at this stage. Immeasurably better.

"Owen is a bit sore but he will be fine. We have got a few others carrying bumps and bruises because it was a tough game."

One England player who will not feature in Saturday's final is Willi Heinz. The scrum-half suffered a hamstring injury after coming off the bench against New Zealand and Ben Spencer has been called up in his place.

"It is tough for Willi," said Jones. "He has been a great contributor and a very well-liked member of the squad. He was in tears in the dressing room but he has collected himself and now knows he has another role to play for us and he will fulfil that role really well this week.

"Ben has been in and around the squad consistently for the last couple of years so he knows the game, he knows the players. He is a fit guy and just fits in quite readily. We always said to those guys outside the 31 that they need to be ready, and he is ready to go."