Eddie Jones is on a reconnaissance mission in South Africa ahead of England’s three-Test tour in June.
The Springboks will host the 2017 Six Nations champions in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town on successive Saturdays with the first Test set for June 9.
Netwerk24 reported that the England coach met up with Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli for an inspection of Ellis Park on Monday.
Jones and his scout team are expected to walk through the Free State Stadium on Wednesday before making their way to Cape Town on Thursday.
The objective is to recce the facilities so as to avoid any unforeseen restrictions on matchday.
Jones surprised more than a few pundits by guiding England to consecutive European championships, and 22 victories in his first 23 Tests at the helm since 2016.
Only one of those matches involved South Africa and the Boks went down 37-21 in November of 2016, their biggest loss against England at Twickenham in 12 years. Prior to the appointment of Jones, South Africa had trumped England five times in a row at their London fortress.
The man responsible for turning the Brumbies into Super Rugby champions, Jones also coached Australia to the 2001 Tri-Nations title and the 2003 Rugby World Cup final.
Jones is well aware of the strength and speed of Southern Hemisphere rugby and – with a 2018 schedule that includes four Tests against the Springboks (including a November clash at Twickenham) and one year-end clash against each of the All Blacks and Wallabies – the 57-year-old is leaving no stone unturned to sustain England’s upward curve.
SA Rugby also appears to be diligently following due process before sacking Allister Coetzee who guided the Boks to multiple record-breaking defeats and the worst season in team history.
If SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus takes the reins, as is expected, his first task will be to outfox a coach who, in his last showdown against South Africa, put the Boks to the sword as head coach of Japan at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.