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'I actually have got no idea': David Campese stumped by Jones' coaching

By Ned Lester
Eddie Jones at Wallabies training. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Between the bold claims, mind games, underwhelming performances and more mind games, you’d be forgiven for getting a bit lost in the puzzling pickle of Eddie Jones’ coaching antics. And it would seem not even Australia’s brightest rugby minds are immune to the bewilderment Jones evokes.


A late replacement for Australia just five Tests out from a Rugby World Cup, Jones faced a remarkable challenge in turning the Wallabies around in time to be competitive in France come September.

As expected, the coach didn’t come quietly. Since his arrival, there’s been a steady stream of controversy and rumours, whether it be around NRL players switching codes or Jones smashing headsets or most recently, claiming the New Zealand economy would suffer if the Wallabies were to emerge victorious in Bledisloe 1.

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All the off-field drama has distracted from the on-field performances, which have been poor. For all of Jones’ World Cup success, his new vision for the Wallabies has managed to stump even Australian great David Campese.

“I actually have got no idea,” Campese told The Platform in regards to whether Jones is heading in the right direction.

“I actually don’t know because when he arrived in Australia early this year, he went back to his school, brought the Ellas along and went there, and thought it’s great to be back at school and said in the paper ‘all these kids, everyone should learn to play like the Ellas. You know, run with the ball’ and then a month later he comes out and said ‘running rugby’s dead in Australia, we’re going to kick the ball away to win the World Cup.’

“So, the reality is great when you first come, then he talks up a lot of game. Before going to South Africa he talked about ‘this is going to be better than the Ashes, mate’ and then what happened?


“Look, I just think if you have a look over the last couple of games, even Dave Rennie probably found we haven’t got the skilled players that we should have at that level.

“I think he’s still trying to find the combinations. My belief, whenever I played, the more you play with the guys around you, the more confidence you get, you anticipate, you try different things because your mates are there.

“When you’ve got guys like Quade (Cooper), (Samu) Kerevi, (Marika) Koroibete, all playing overseas, when they come back into play, they’ve got no combinations. It takes months and months to get a combination going, especially at nine and ten.

“I know he’s got to experiment, but anything could happen, because when you pick a team and you don’t know who you’re playing against, you’re a bit more wary and I think that’s what he’s trying to do.”



Jones has named a youthful Wallabies side to face the All Blacks in the opening Bledisloe Cup match on Saturday, relegating halves partnership Nic White and Quade Cooper to the bench in favour of Tate McDermott and Carter Gordon.

Angus Bell is also promoted to the starting unit, replacing co-captain James Slipper in the No 1 jersey. Bell is joined in the forwards by a new-look loose forward trio, with Jed Holloway and Tom Hooper packing down as blindside and openside flankers respectively to partner Rob Valetini, who keeps his No 8 jersey.

Time will tell whether Jones’ selections have made the All Blacks “wary” like Campese suggests or if the Bledisloe will be locked up on the eastern side of the ditch for a 22nd consecutive year.


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CO 351 days ago

The issue is primarily in the forward pack with lack of cohesion, mobility and explosiveness. However they're not able to fix it with a lack of depth. Totally mystified why the Brumbies first five isn't starting. Carter looks more like a midfielder/outside back at the moment.

Al 353 days ago

“I actually have got no idea,” Campese told The Platform in regards to whether Jones is heading in the right direction.

A polite way of saying it’s not going very well with Jones at the helm?

Paul 353 days ago

Eddie Jones's mind games are old news, a tactic that might have worked on opposition teams 15 years ago, but I think the ABs would be more thrown if he didn't do it, and are likely just ignoring it. The difference then though, is the Aussies were halfway a decent side, this side isn't.

josh 353 days ago

Eddie's cool ,a proper aussie.He just loves to try and unsettle everyone when he needs to .At the present time I don't think they can do it ,and if they do it will be a close score .Worls cup time??,This guy pulls off miracles, but not this week.

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William 2 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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