What it's like to be coached by 'intense' Eddie Jones

TOKYO -- England coach Eddie Jones has long held a reputation as an intense individual, but former Wallabies full-back Mat Rogers says it's that exact presence that makes him such a great World Cup coach.

The 2003 World Cup didn't end in the fashion Rogers and his Wallabies teammates hoped after Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal in extra time saw England claim a 20-17 victory in the final to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time.

Sixteen years on, having lifted the trophy in 2007 as part of Jake White's Springboks staff, Jones is now at the helm of an England side preparing to play its second game of the 2019 tournament, against the United States in Kobe on Thursday, and one that is regarded as a genuine contender to win its second World Cup.

But it hasn't all been smooth sailing for England under Jones, a 38-38 draw with Scotland -- at Twickenham no less -- in the final game of this year's Six Nations raising questions as to whether the Australian had his squad on the right trajectory for Japan.

Rogers, however, is in no doubt as to the quality of Jones' coaching ability, the dual international recalling how the Wallabies themselves hit a major speedbump on their way to the 2003 final yet were still able to recover and go within a few minutes of claiming rugby's ultimate prize.

"I think Eddie is supreme at handling pressure," Rogers told ESPN. "The way he took us into 2003 was phenomenal, we had been beaten handsomely in the first Bledisloe by New Zealand and we managed to get close back to them in the second Bledisloe.

"He worked out New Zealand's game play and we were able to knock them off in the semi. That's someone who can handle the pressure. He then took us into a World Cup final, when really no one gave us much hope and we got to double overtime. The guy knows how to rise to big occasions."

England will close out their pool fixtures against Argentina on Oct. 5 and with a potentially group-deciding clash against France a week later.

Win both of those games and they will likely face either Australia or Wales in the quarterfinals, the former over whom Jones boasts a 6-0 record since he became England coach.

Rogers says Jones' unbeaten streak against Randwick colleague Michael Cheika is no fluke, describing the England boss as a meticulous planner who is driven by the pursuit of success.

"Eddie Jones is a consummate professional," Rogers said. "There's no question about it, when he's got a job to do, that's all that matters and he doesn't get distracted. That is the key to success in any field -- to remain focused and not get distracted. Only a few people can do it.

"But Eddie Jones is one of those people who can be wholly and solely focused on the task at hand and he's proven that over and over again."

Still, Jones has been known to rub some players up the wrong way and as a man who, at times, can be quite the prickly character. Again, Rogers says that's all down to a desire to succeed.

"He can be an incredibly intense individual, but he's only intense because he wants success and demands it from his players," he said.

"He demands hard work and I don't have a problem with that. If a player has a problem with it, then maybe it's them. They may need to look internally and wonder why Eddie is getting on their back or getting under their skin. It could be because they're not putting in the effort that Eddie requires.

"I always found Eddie to be approachable, and if I had an issue with him I would speak to him about it and he always delivered back to me what he required. There was no hiding behind innuendo or anything like that. He was straight down the line and that was the sort of coach I loved to play under."

Rogers had defected from the National Rugby League the year before the World Cup and would go on to start in an all code-hopper back three in the final alongside Wendell Sailor and Lote Tuqiri.

Four tournaments later and it's another rugby league convert making headlines for Australia in Marika Koroibete, the Fijian-born winger, who enjoyed a sparkling World Cup debut against Fiji last Saturday.

"Marika Koroibete has been a revelation," Rogers said. "The way he runs the ball and the speed and strength he has is phenomenal. He's like an extra forward, but he has the speed of any outside back.

"I think he's been fantastic, I think he's going to have a huge World Cup. I just hope he gets plenty of opportunities with ball in hand."