Wallabies playmaker comes out to bat for ‘unreal’ Eddie Jones

Colin Newboult
Eddie Jones before Barbarians' clash with Wales in 2023.

Eddie Jones before Barbarians' clash with Wales in 2023.

Young fly-half Carter Gordon has defended former Australia head coach Eddie Jones, who resigned from his post following a dreadful Rugby World Cup.

The 63-year-old stepped down a few days after the global tournament concluded, citing issues within Rugby Australia for his departure.

That came just 10 months into Jones’ five-year deal, which he signed in January after Dave Rennie had been sacked.

He won just two games in charge – against Georgia and Portugal – while his methods were criticised by onlookers, but Gordon had nothing but good things to say about the now former Wallabies boss.

“Sad” that he’s gone

“I haven’t spoken to him since he’s resigned but he was unreal for me,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“Obviously, he was the one who kind of went out on a limb and backed me right from the start so I’m really grateful for what he did there.

“I definitely learnt a lot from him this year. I’m obviously sad to see him go.”

One of the things that Jones did was completely overhaul the squad, selecting a much younger group of players for the World Cup campaign.

Gordon was one of the individuals he backed, with the Melbourne Rebel chosen as the first choice fly-half in France.

The head coach left the experienced Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley out of the 33-man squad, a move that was – and continues to be – heavily criticised.

Jones’ reasoning was that he was looking ahead to the 2027 tournament with his selection – a four-year cycle he ultimately decided not to see out – and Gordon felt that the young players did benefit from the head coach’s call.

“Absolutely,” he said when asked whether the team had the ability to respond in 2024. “We did take a lot away from France and the World Cup.

“It’s a young group. I think we’ve just soaked in a lot of that information and we’ll be better for it and we’ll take those leanings into the new year.

“The World Cup’s always been the pinnacle of rugby. Obviously, that was my first one so I learned a lot there.

“Just to experience rugby in France with the massive crowds, that really excites me and definitely the other boys to get the World Cup back.”

Nursing an injury

Gordon started the opening two matches of the World Cup but was dropped for the crucial clash against Wales after he struggled in the 22-15 defeat to Fiji.

A knee injury then ruled him out of the final pool encounter against Portugal, but the 22-year-old is back fit and ready for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

“I’ve had four weeks off, completely no running or anything like that. I just wanted to see whether it would heal on its own and it did,” he added.

“So I’m back into training now and pretty much able to do everything and anything I want to and it hasn’t flared up or caused me any trouble since so it’s good.”

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