‘Confrontational’ Eddie Jones admits to creating Wallabies ‘instability’

Colin Newboult
New Japan head coach Eddie Jones.

Former Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones.

Eddie Jones has admitted to the mistakes he made during his ill-fated time in charge of the Wallabies.

The 63-year-old replaced the sacked Dave Rennie in January to much fanfare, but it turned out to be a disastrous appointment.

Jones presided over just two victories during his 10 months in the hotseat as they became the first Australia side to be eliminated at the pool of a Rugby World Cup.

Departure for Japan

He then departed the role following the global tournament, citing issues within Rugby Australia for his decision to resign, before taking up a position as Japan head coach.

The former England boss has previously expressed few regrets about his short stint with the Wallabies but, in an interview with the Guardian, Jones did highlight the areas where he felt it went wrong.

“We tried to do too much change in too short a time and it created instability. The thing I probably got really wrong was with the media,” he said.

“It’s a difficult one as there was a need to create some media exposure because the game was lacking that attention. I had a role to play but I was probably too confrontational in that area.

“In the end, when you take the media on, they always come looking for you.”

Jones was also adamant that he was not wrong to go for youth over experience after dropping the likes of Quade Cooper and Michael Hooper for the World Cup, later claiming that they were not good role models.

“Selection-wise, the safe thing would have been to keep the senior players, no doubt about it. But is that going to help Australia in the long-term? I don’t think so,” he said.

“For me this was a World Cup in-between for Australia [hosts of the 2027 tournament]. You don’t sacrifice a World Cup but sometimes we’ve got to move this team on to get it to the position it needs to be. We tried to do it too fast and just weren’t capable.”

Self-doubt

Despite Jones’ confidence, the 63-year-old does admit to having ‘doubt’ over the decisions he is making, but that his self-belief is unwavering.

“Doubt’s a part of everything. No one charges in every day and says: ‘I’m 100% right.’ You wake up every morning, thinking: ‘Am I doing the right thing?’,” he added.

“Whenever you do something challenging you’re always assessing and, yes, you have doubts. But you weigh up the situation, glean as much evidence as possible and make decisions in what you think are the best interests of the organisation.”

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