Why Eddie Jones could be the savior of Australian rugby even if he fails to achieve World Cup success and Bledisloe during his second coming as Wallabies mentor
Even if he doesn’t win the Rugby World Cup in September or win another Bledisloe Cup in New Zealand this year, Eddie Jones can still be regarded as the sport’s savior in Australia.
The recently appointed head coach of the Wallabies – for the second time – quickly reinvigorated the sport after replacing Dave Rennie in January.
Proof of Jones’ magic touch was reflected in the crowd of more than 25,000 who gathered at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on Friday as the Waratahs hosted the Brumbies in the Super Rugby Pacific season opener.
In recent years, the competition has struggled to attract fans through the gate – but with Jones back at the helm of Australia, there is hope that the struggling code could once again become relevant on local shores.
Rennie was a bland character compared to Jones, who had already ruffled some feathers in the NRL after announcing players like Cameron Murray and Ryan Papenhuyzen were on his hit list.
After his appointment in January, Eddie Jones was a much needed breath of fresh air for Rugby Australia
Jones replaced Dave Rennie as head coach of the Wallabies – the pair are polar opposites in terms of personality
And given that Jones successfully signed Lote Tuquri, Mat Rogers and Wendell Sailor ahead of the 2003 World Cup, history could easily repeat itself, leaving Peter V’Landys and company nervously looking over their shoulder.
Young Sydney Roosters gunslinger Joseph Suaalii also knows that if he leaves for rugby, RA will be offered a contract worth at least $1.5m a season.
Not bad for a 19-year-old who wouldn’t earn half that in rugby league at the moment.
Jones, 63, was a breath of fresh air Rugby Australia needed.
Significantly, the Wallabies last won the Bledisloe Cup against the All Blacks in 2002 – and constant defeats keep rivals rejoicing year after year.
Jones is also aware that if Australia wins the World Cup in France in September, there will be a memorial.
Maybe even a street parade in his honor.
Jones continued the hype this week by writing an open letter to the Australian rugby community.
Jones previously led the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final where they lost to England
The message was clear – if everyone is on the same side, why don’t they dare to dream.
“Australia has the talent to win the Rugby World Cup in Paris on October 29,” wrote Jones.
We don’t have a team at the moment, but we do have talent. “We also don’t have a clear path from where we start today to where we want to end.
“Ultimately, this path will be carved by Australian players and the choices they make from time to time.
“This path will be defined by the standards players will set for themselves and their teammates.”
Inspiring words came from Jones to the tee, who as always wants players to feel obligated to perform.
If they don’t, the code will continue to die a slow death in Australia.
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