Eddie Jones didn’t mince his words. During a recent podcast, he didn’t fail to take stock of the Australians’ position after a disappointing Super Rugby Pacific finish and before hitting the Rugby Championship with so many questions. Selected pieces.
What is your take on Super Rugby Pacific from an Australian perspective?
When you are the coach of the national team and you see only one team in the semi-finals, you cannot be satisfied because your players are used to playing in losing teams. And you run the risk of having depressed players.
What exactly do you need to do to change the mindset of these players?
I’m not here to pursue a no-win policy. Since 2015, Australia have won only 38% of Test matches. There aren’t many players who stand out. This is the reality to face. My goal is to create an environment that allows them to establish themselves and thrive. Players must understand that they are at the heart of the problem, but also the solution to this problem. And if they are willing to work harder and better and focus more, we can set our sights on winning the Bledislo Cup, winning the Rugby Championship and winning the World Cup. The goal is to change mindsets. When you coach internationally, you are not there to teach them to be technically brilliant, but to change their attitudes.
We don’t work on improving their individual technique or their support on the left foot or screwing a pass from 50m. As we need to break out of the mold of Super Rugby teams, our aim is to find players who are ready to play an important role in the team, change their approach and do things differently. And they must be severe in evil. You have to constantly question yourself and don’t assume that everything is fine. You need to find flaws in the team, create conflicts to push the players out of their comfort zone.
Where will you be in Pretoria on July 8 at the start of this Rugby Championship and the first match against South Africa?
We’re about to start a sprint. We have the 1500m, which starts in Pretoria, and continues with the Bledislo Cup before getting to the preparation for the World Cup. Then, not to underestimate the group matches of the World Cup, the real competition begins in the quarter-finals. This is when we should be at our maximum. Our goal is to win as many matches as possible to give this team confidence and to give the public joy to get behind the Wallabies. If we work hard and give it our all, we will reap the rewards.
What is the difference between the Wallabies you coached between 2001 and 2005 and the ones you have today?
The main difference lies in the demographics of the group. Nowadays, there is a strong influence of Pacific players. When we faced the All Blacks, we dominated in terms of power, but now there is no difference. What we need is to play smart rugby – if we want to continue the physical challenge, we need to find solutions around it. For me, that’s Australian rugby, smart play. We have a good group of players. Now we have to integrate them into the team that we want to fight and win. You have to put them in a setting where they don’t feel invincible, but want to be great.
Recently there were rumors about your exit after the World Cup. What about?
I’ve re-signed with Australia and if they want me after the World Cup, I’ll be there. If they don’t want me anymore, you know, other young coaches are ready to take over. I think Stevie Largum (Brumbies coach) would be a great Wallabies coach. Give him two more years in charge of the Brumbies and he will be truly ready. His stay in Munster did him immense good and opened his eyes. The Brumbies are the only Australian franchise to understand that the foundation of all success is winning streaks. Look when the Brumbies are in trouble, they go for the basics, their scrum and their touch and penetrating mauls. Players have to adapt to the situation during the match.
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