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'It's really poor': Eddie Jones criticises All Blacks coaching process

By Finn Morton
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has criticised New Zealand Rugby for their “poor” treatment of All Blacks boss Ian Foster.

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Foster is still the All Blacks coach, for now, but his replacement has already put pen to paper with NZR.

Following months of rumours and speculation, NZR confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Crusaders coach Scott Robertson would succeed Foster in the All Blacks’ hot seat.

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Robertson will take the coaching reins after this year’s World Cup in France, and will lead the national team through to the 2027 tournament in Australia.

With a smile on his face, Robertson fronted the media for the first time as the new All Blacks coach earlier this week.

All seemed right with the rugby world – NZR and the All Blacks had got their man, and supporters were left optimistic for the future.

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But Robertson’s time in charge is still months away. The All Blacks have a job to do this year, and Foster will lead the team in the pursuit of rugby immortality.

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With this year’s tournament just over five months away, Wallabies coach Eddie Jones described the announcement as “inappropriate.”

“I think it’s really poor how New Zealand Rugby have done it,” Jones said on his podcast Eddie.

“Ian Foster’s here now, he’s a good man and he’s given a lot to New Zealand Rugby as assistant coach and now head coach.

“I just think the timing’s inappropriate, leading into a World Cup, naming their coach beforehand just causes another distraction they don’t need.

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“Maybe if they had their time again they’d handle it a little bit differently but… that seems to be the way of the world now.”

Rugby Australia flipped the rugby world on its head earlier this year when they confirmed that Dave Rennie had been replaced as Wallabies coach by Eddie Jones.

The legendary coach had previously been axed by the RFU as England’s boss, and was a free agent heading into a World Cup year.

“Having experienced both sides of it myself, it’s a changing world for professional coaches in rugby and we’re starting to move towards the football model of three games aren’t very good, your fourth better be good or you won’t be in the chair,” he added.

“You get the phone call, come to training, the chairman wants to meet you at 8am, and you know it’s not for avocado on toast.”

Eddie Jones’ staff has continued to take shape in Australia, with the Wallabies adding former England forwards coach Neal Hatley to the setup.

Hatley was part of Jones’ staff that led England to a Rugby World Cup final in Japan four years ago.

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“I’m honoured to join Eddie and the Wallabies in what’s a massive year with the World Cup just over five months away,” Hatley said in a statement.

“While my focus is here with Bath at the moment, I know there’s plenty of potential within the playing group in Australia and I’m looking forward to maximising that when I begin the role.”

After returning to Australia’s shores, Jones will lead the Wallabies for the first time this year when they take on defending world champions South Africa at Loftus Versfeld.

Jones’ Wallabies will also play Argentina, New Zealand and France ahead of this year’s World Cup.

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finn 8 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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