‘We’ve basically been on the run’ – Eddie Jones on Wallabies development

Dylan Coetzee

Eddie Jones ahead of Australia's game with Fiji in the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones claims his team’s lack of success since he returned to the helm is because he is trying to fast-track years of development.

Since the veteran coach returned to the side for the second time it has been tough going, with last weekend’s historic loss to Fiji perhaps typifying the entire situation.

Jones did not inherit a winning team, however, with the Australian side only managing 38% during the three years under his predecessor Dave Rennie.

The former England coach felt drastic changes were needed and made some massive calls including leaving experienced duo Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper at home for the Rugby World Cup.

Always expected a challenge

The tactician claimed that he was under no illusions of how difficult the job would be when he took it up and suggested change comes with time.

“I always thought it was going to be [hard],” said Jones.

“I’ve been watching Australian rugby for however long I’ve been away and it’s increasingly got worse and worse.

“You always hope you can go like that [click fingers] and things will change but you know you’re going to have to work really hard to change it.”

Jones only took over the team at the beginning of the year and has tried to speed up development during that time.

“We’ve basically been on the run for the whole time,” Jones said.

“We’re literally at the start of the cycle and that cycle is generally three or four years but we’re trying to get there in literally five months so we’re fast-tracking everything.”

Players must stand up

After the Fiji loss, Jones put his hand up and took the blame but second-row Richie Arnold believes the players must take responsibility for what happens on the pitch.

“It comes down to the players,” Arnold said.

“We have to review the game hard individually and look at our own games as I think it’s down to the players at the end of the day.

“He [Jones] can prep us as best as possible but we’re the ones out there doing the job.”

Crunch match this weekend

Interestingly Jones’ return coincided with Warren Gatland’s return to the helm of Wales, who face the Wallabies in a crunch match this weekend.

Gatland has had arguably more success by returning to the style of play he used during his extended time with the side, which makes Wales a tough team to beat according to Jones.

“I think they’ve gone back to a traditional style of Welsh play,” said Jones.

“A lot of the play comes off [Dan] Biggar, the defence is improved and their line-out’s improved so there are some pretty big changes in there since Warren’s taken charge.

“They’ll be a tough team to beat.”

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