Why Eddie Jones could be Australian rugby’s savior even if he FAILS to deliver the World Cup and Bledisloe in his second coming as Wallabies mentor
Even if he doesn’t win the Rugby World Cup in September or New Zealand lift another Bledisloe Cup this year, Eddie Jones may still be seen as the savior of the sport in Australia.
The newly appointed Wallabies coach – for the second time – has quickly revamped the sport after replacing Dave Rennie in January.
Evidence of Jones’ magic touch was reflected in the 25,000-plus crowd at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Friday when the Waratahs hosted the Brumbies in the Super Rugby Pacific season opener.
In recent years the competition has struggled to attract fans through the gate – but with Jones back at the helm in Australia, there is hope the struggling code can once again become relevant on local shores.
Rennie was a bland character compared to Jones, who has already ruffled feathers in the NRL after declaring Cameron Murray and Ryan Papenhuizen to be on his hit list of players.
After his appointment in January, Eddie Jones has been a much-needed breath of fresh air for Rugby Australia
Jones replaces Dave Rennie as Wallabies coach – the pair are polar opposites in terms of personality
And with Jones poaching Lote Tuquri, Mat Rogers and Wendell Sailor ahead of the 2003 World Cup, history could easily repeat itself, leaving Peter V’Landys and co looking nervously over their shoulders .
Sydney Roosters young gun Joseph Suaalii also knows that if he misses out on rugby, a contract of at least $1.5 million per season from the RA will follow.
Not bad for a 19-year-old who wouldn’t earn half that in rugby right now.
Jones, 63, was the breath of fresh air that Rugby Australia needed.
Tellingly, the Wallabies last won the Bledisloe Cup against the All Blacks in 2002 – and the back-to-back defeats have left opponents gloating year after year.
Jones is also well aware if Australia win the World Cup in France in September, a statue will follow.
Maybe even a parade in his honor.
This week Jones continued the hype by writing an open letter to the Australian rugby community.
Jones previously coached the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final, where they lost to England
The message was clear – if everyone is on the same page, why not dare to dream.
“Australia have the talent to win the Rugby World Cup in Paris on October 29,” Jones wrote.
“Right now, we don’t have the team, but we have the talent. “Also, we don’t have a clear path from where we start today to where we want to end up.
“Ultimately, that path will be carved by the Australian players and the choices they make between now and then.
“This track will be built around the standards players set for themselves and their teammates.”
The inspiring words were Jones in a T-shirt, who as always wants the players to play.
If they don’t, the code will continue to die a slow death in Australia.
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