Eddie Jones likens Australian rookie to Springboks and Wallabies greats

Colin Newboult

Fly-half Carter Gordon in Wallabies training in 2023.

Carter Gordon has an element of Stephen Larkham in him, according to Wallabies boss Eddie Jones, as the fly-half prepares to make his first Test start.

Larkham is one of Australia’s greatest ever players having earned over 100 caps and played a key role in their 1999 Rugby World Cup triumph.

He was renowned for his silky smooth running style, something which Jones believes that Gordon possesses.

The Melbourne Rebels playmaker was handed his first Test start ahead of the experienced Quade Cooper, who dropped to the bench.

Impressive in defence

Jones has also been impressed by his defence, which is reminiscent of another World Cup winner, ex-Springboks pivot Butch James, according to the Wallabies head coach.

“If you look back at players, past great 10s, he’s got a bit of a mixture of Butch James defensively, like he’s a tough kid,” Jones told reporters. “Then he’s got that little bit of a glide that Larkham had.

“He can take the ball at pace, he’s got a good short passing game and he’s got a good long passing game.”

Gordon has been thrown into the deep end this weekend against an in-form All Blacks outfit, but Jones has backed him to thrive.

“Well it’s a Bledisloe Cup game, it’s his home town, it’s the best game to make a debut,” he said. “We always wanted to, in the lead-up to the World Cup.

“There’s two things here, we’ve got the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday but also because of the timing of how I’ve come into the job of preparing for the World Cup. I’m trying to do two things at once.

“No one better than against the Kiwis.”

Continual improvement

Australia’s head coach has also been impressed with how Gordon has developed his game, even in the short time the fly-half has been in camp.

“Just the way he keeps preparing, keeps improving himself. His ability to recover from mistakes has improved immeasurably even in the short time he’s been with us,” Jones added.

“For most players that’s one of the key areas of their game… your ability to recovery from an error and get onto the next thing is so important.”

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