‘Desperate’ Eddie Jones admits to not having ‘much control’ at Wallabies and regrets ‘going too hard’ at media

Colin Newboult
Eddie Jones coaching Australia at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Eddie Jones coaching Australia at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Eddie Jones has opened up on his ill-fated stint in charge of the Wallabies and has taken the blame for his strained relationship with the Australian media.

The 64-year-old replaced Dave Rennie at the start of 2023 having been sacked by England in December following a series of poor results.

There was much excitement about Jones’ return to the Wallabies hotseat having also taken the reins between 2001 and 2005.

However, it turned out to be a disastrous appointment as Australia exited the Rugby World Cup at the pool stages for the first time ever.

Controversies

His time at the Wallabies was littered with controversy, from the decision to axe the experienced players to his spiky press conferences.

In one such press call, he labelled it the “worst press conference ever”, but Jones has now conceded that he was wrong in the way he approached the media.

“Australia was… there was too much fighting there and that was my fault. I probably went too hard at them, but that was part of the deal; try and create some news about rugby,” he said on Walk the Talk with Jim Hamilton.

“When I reflected, I probably didn’t have as much control as I would have liked in the way I handled things. It’s funny, you get to 63 and you think you should be able to do that.

“But it was like a job where I was so… and maybe I was desperate, desperate to do well for the country, that I layered that to overflow to the media.”

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Jones had a different view of his time with England, where he stated that he “enjoyed” his interactions with their press corps

“I really enjoyed England. I enjoyed how desperate they were to get news,” he said.

“They all come in, there’s eight or 10 of them and they’ve all got their headline. One of the things I liked to try to do, I enjoyed the game of trying not to give them a headline and give them a different headline. I quite enjoyed that.”

Mission impossible

Jones was severely criticised for his role in the Wallabies’ poor 2023, but the 64-year-old felt that the issues within Rugby Australia made it an impossible job.

“It was just too unstable, mate. We had changing personnel, change in leadership. We tried to change the way we played. Short run-up,” he added.

“If I had my time again, I would still probably do it the same. Because at the end of the day, sometimes you have to make changes for the place to be successful and I’ve got no doubt that Joe Schmidt will improve the team.

“I think there are some good young players there that’ll start to come through now. They’ve had a pretty tough experience. Sometimes, the making of a good team is the disappointment of having a bad campaign.

“Sometimes that’s the thing that really drives you to be good, to be really good. The difference between being good and really good is so small but so finite as well. As a player, you have to make that decision yourself.”

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