Joe Schmidt set for surprise Eddie Jones talks and answers Michael Hooper question

David Skippers
Eddie Jones and Joe Schmidt 2022 - Alamy.jpg

Eddie Jones and Joe Schmidt are set to meet before Schmidt starts his tenure as Wallabies coach.

Joe Schmidt says that he will speak to the controversial Eddie Jones after succeeding him as the Wallabies’ new head coach.

Schmidt, who was Ireland’s head coach from 2013 to 2019 and an All Blacks selector and assistant coach in 2022 and 2023, took over Australia’s coaching reins last month following Jones’ resignation from the position at the end of last year.

Disastrous World Cup campaign

This, after the Wallabies delivered a disastrous performance at the Rugby World Cup in France where they failed to advance to the knockout stages of the global showpiece for the first time in the tournament’s history.

Schmidt will start his tenure as Wallabies boss on March 1 and is already focussed on turning the two-time world champions’ fortunes around.

The 58-year-old’s first match as Wallabies head coach will be against Wales at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday, July 6.

The New Zealander revealed that he was initially apprehensive about taking the Wallabies position but explained why he feels it’s necessary to speak to Jones and Dave Rennie, who was Australia’s head coach from 2020 until the start of 2023.

“You know when Peter Horne got given this job [with Rugby Australia], he’s a mate of mine, and he asked me if I’d put my name in there,” Schmidt told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I’ll admit I took a bit of convincing but, you know, my wife, I think she gets sick of me at home or something, but she’s happy enough.

“I’ve had a number of conversations with Dave Rennie, so that was great. Eddie messaged me, and I’m going to chat to Eddie, which will be good as well.

“I’m coming across here and I’ve flipped the lens as best I can, from trying to exploit their weaknesses I can see having coached with the All Blacks for the last 18 months, but also trying to see what’s the best of who we can be.”

Another important person who Schmidt has spoken to is former Wallabies captain Michael Hooper, who is now concentrating on playing sevens for Australia after Jones sensationally left him out of his country’s squad for last year’s World Cup in France.

“I was talking to Michael Hooper briefly… which was great, and he’s a champion bloke,” said Schmidt.

“Even when I was coaching against him for so many years, he was a champion bloke, even though he was a total pain in the neck because he is such a good player.

Lots of respect for Hooper

“I’ve got a lot of respect for him and just chatting to him about the mindset at the moment of players and I think there’s a real keenness [from players] to get back into it.

“If you’ve had a bad experience, the best way to bury it, at least a little bit, is to have a new experience and to have something else to build toward.

“I’m sure those players are building toward the Super Rugby season with a lot of motivation now to be able to best bury the World Cup experience, which they didn’t enjoy.”

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