The man ‘who killed the All Blacks hopes of Rugby World Cup dream’ Eddie Jones has given an insightful interview with a New Zealand sports talk show. Revealing much, it comes after Jones released his first authorized biography; my Life and Rugby.
With the relaxed delivery he is famous for, revelations included his affection for the game in NZ. Asked if he knew that England would prevail in the World Cup semifinal, he admitted “well you never know because New Zealand is such a great team.”
“They can always come back. We’ve seen over the last eight years, particularly under Steve [Hansen] how many games they’ve won in the last 10 minutes. We experienced that in November 2018.”
His encounters with the New Zealand All Blacks side numbers over a dozen times. Eddie Jones’ rugby pathway has taken him around the rugby-globe. Roles with his native Australia, an assistant coach with the South African RWC winning side in 2007, to Saracens, Suntory Sungoliath, to leading the Brave Blossoms.
And after fulfilling his goals with Japan in 2015, he had wanted to continue that unique journey. He explained that “there were two places I wanted to coach, post-Japan. One was South Africa, and the other was NZ. And as you know, Australians aren’t allowed in NZ.”
He took up a role with the Stormers, but the powers that be at the RFU made contact with Jones. And after some negotiation, his current role as head coach of England Rugby was confirmed. The opportunity to improve that team was one ‘he couldn’t knockback’.
Three years later, he was in the Rugby World Cup final versus South Africa. Yet Jones has not become hung up over that result. His resolve is to look at the entire campaign, and he seems wholly comfortable with his effort.
And why shouldn’t he. By reputation alone, Jones has one of the shrewdest minds in rugby. And a sharp tongue and an astute rugby-mind.
Jones’ personality paints him as Perfect Protagonist
Far from being overwhelmed by the inescapable British sports media, instead of battling it, Eddie Jones has grown to ‘love it’. Not the routine answer when compared to Steve Hansen or the combative Michael Cheika. For that, Jones should be acknowledged. His ability to direct the conversation, as much to deflect pressure from his team, is a compliment to his recent attitude to the press.
“I think I set out to enjoy it, cause otherwise, it gets too much on you. If ya allow the media to run the race, they’ll run the race. You’ve got to try to exert some control, and get the message you want out there. I want the players to hear the message that’s gonna aid their performance.”
At times, that direction of the message has been protracted. Easier when his England team began a 16 game winning streak which equalled the very best efforts of the All Blacks – a side he is respectful of, yet regularly antagonizes.
Host Martin Devlin questioned Jones on his ability and successful strategy to get under the skin of his opposing head coach. Devlin asked, “you called the NZ media ‘fans with keyboards’ and we are still searching for the Spy”. After a chuckle, Devlin hinted at the tactics that Jones used in the lead-up to the RWC semifinal.
“Steve, he’s a great coach but, we wanted the NZ media to put some pressure on him. That was the aim, to stir things up, have a little fun. Get some pressure on Steve during the week.”
That tactic was one the appeared to work. Unfortunately, the England team’s execution on November 3, 2019, let them down.
Appetite for winning has not diminished for Eddie Jones
Jones still believes England can play better. He explained, “the real joy comes when your team plays with power and precision, it looks like everyone knows what they are doing. And the enjoyment in the crowd, so the appetite for that has not diminished.
“At the end of the day we love winning mate.”
When questioned on his longevity in the England Rugby environment, the outward enthusiasm of Eddie Jones is both deceiving, yet compelling. If he carries on through the next seasons as sole head coach, then Devlin wondered why the tenure has extended longer than initially planned.
“100% like it was four years and we were going but, I just feel we had a young team and we’ve got some growth in that team and we’ve got some young players coming through. I’d like to see where we could take this team.”
His intimation is that 2020 and beyond is not yet written in stone, and when rugby returns, Eddie Jones will put his whole heart into the cause for the England red rose.
(Quotes from the NewstalkZB interview were taken from the iHeart Radio podcast).
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