‘It’s set up for failure’ – Eddie Jones in stinging criticism of Australian rugby

Colin Newboult
New Japan head coach Eddie Jones.

Former Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones.

A new documentary is set to be released detailing the Wallabies’ disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign, which will lay bare where it went wrong for the team.

While it will be a tough watch for Australian supporters, it will give them a fly-on-the-wall vantage point at what was going on in camp.

One particular moment shows then-head coach Eddie Jones speaking to experienced prop James Slipper a day after their heavy 40-6 defeat to Wales.

In the clip, Jones absolutely savages Australian rugby, saying that the players lack “hardness” in comparison to other countries.

“Stands out like dog’s balls, mate”

“That’s the problem mate, we’ve got no hardness about us,” he told the loosehead. “Game hardness is different to any sort of hardness, when you just stick in the f—— game and do it.

“There’s none of that in Australian rugby now, and that’s where the big gap is, mate.

“If you look at those Welsh players, mate, they play 30 games a year, they’re hardened tough players, so they can just stick at it, and they know they’re going to do it. And we’ve lost that in Australian rugby.

“We’re not not tough, but we’re not trained to be tough now, and we’re not used to playing tough; like it’s an exception to play tough now rather than the norm. It stands out like dog’s balls, mate… it’s set up for failure, mate.”

Stan Sport’s documentary, The Wallabies, will be released on February 22 in a three-part series with the final episode focusing on his Japan links.

Just prior to the Wales match, it was claimed by the Herald that Jones had a Zoom interview with the Japan Rugby Football Union.

The 64-year-old finally admitted to the meeting during his unveiling as the Japan head coach, but insisted that it was not an interview.

Instead, Jones said that it was a chat with a recruitment agency over his previous experiences as the Brave Blossoms’ boss between 2012 and 2015 to help with the JRFU’s search for Jamie Joseph’s successor.

Coincidently, that person was Jones, who officially started work on January 1 after resining from his role as the Wallabies’ head honcho in October 2023, 10 months into a five-year contract.

Rugby Australia supportive

“You can imagine the hell that management at Rugby Australia were going through while the whole thing was melting down,” executive producer Matt Campbell told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“It wasn’t pretty, but they weren’t worried about how it was going to be portrayed. They were extremely supportive of it. There were some people who weren’t joyous about it – there was a protectiveness about it – but that’s understandable.

“No-one was expecting the nightmare that it turned into. People like disasters. There’s a lot of people – not just rugby fans – who will be fascinated to see what went on behind closed doors.”

Campbell added: “We’re not doing a Four Corners (Australian investigative journalism programme) episode on the Eddie Jones saga. We’re telling the story of the Wallabies’ World Cup campaign leading into and up to the World Cup.

“We certainly did not expect this. We had to change our spiel. It was the worst Wallabies campaign in history and we were there to capture every moment.

“It’s completely different to what we hoped for. We hoped they would ‘snatch and grab’ and bring the cup home, but that’s not how it turned out.”

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