Eddie Jones reckons Boks v Wallabies will be 'better than the Ashes'

Eddie Jones reckons Boks v Wallabies will be 'better than the Ashes'

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones predicts that their clash with the world champion Springboks at Loftus Versveld will be better than the Ashes.

Australia tackle South Africa in their opening Rugby Championship match on Saturday in their first game under Jones.

The match in Pretoria kicks off at 17:05 local time, but Wallabies fans will need to stay up late for the 01:05 am kick-off on Sunday morning.

Ahead of the clash with the Springboks, Jones was asked whether viewers in Australia should stay up for the game, and the Wallabies boss responded with a bold prediction.

"Let me tell you what we're going to do. We are going to roll our sleeves up, and we are going to dig in. If they want to watch that, they must stay up; it will be better than the Ashes, mate," Jones quipped.

"We've really tried to tackle the ghosts," he added. "There's a lot of ghosts of Wallabies teams out there. We've tried to take on the concept of playing at altitude and playing in front of a fierce crowd.

"Pretoria is probably the loudest crowd you experience around the world. We are looking forward to that and see what we can do in it. What a fantastic opportunity."

Australia are yet to win at Loftus in seven attempts, including Jones' Wallabies debut in his first stint in charge back in 2001.

In fact, the last time Jones coached a side at Loftus was in 2007, when his Reds side was famously hammered 92-3 in the final round of the regular Super Rugby season by the Bulls.

"I remember every trip to Pretoria," Jones said when asked if he recalled his last trip to Loftus before reminiscing on his introduction to the Springboks squad later that year.

"I also remember the first team meeting I had with the Springboks in 2007. Jake [White] asked me to get up and talk to the boys, and as I stood up, Jean de Villiers played the Bulls theme [song], so that quite funny."

James Slipper and Michael Hooper co-captain the Wallabies this Saturday, but there is some doubt over whether Slipper will be fit enough for the fixture after sustaining an injury earlier in the week.

However, Jones said they would give Slipper every opportunity possible to start the match. In the meantime, Blake Schoupp has flown out as cover for the experienced prop.

Slipper is set to pack down alongside hooker Dave Porecki and Allan Alaalatoa, while Taniela Tupou misses out on the Wallabies' first Test of the year as he still hasn't fully recovered from his Achilles injury.

While Tupou isn't fit enough to feature in the squad, Samu Kerevi does after he recovered enough to claim a spot on the bench, with Reece Hodge starting at inside centre.

"He only started full training last week," Jones said about Kerevi.

"There is a little bit more he needs to do to be ready [to start]. He will certainly make a massive contribution for us off the bench.

"Hodge, particularly for a game in Pretoria, will do the job well for us at 12."

The Wallabies face the Springboks in their opening round of the Rugby Championship before returning home to face Argentina.

Their final match of the Championship will be in Melbourne against the All Blacks, and they will face New Zealand a week after in the second Bledisloe Cup Test.