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The gainline-busting Cardiff Rugby loosehead has been one of the form players in the URC and he wants his opportunity with Wales

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Eddie Jones insists he didn't oust Dave Rennie from Wallabies gig

By AAP
Dave Rennie gestures as he watches his players warm up ahead of the Autumn International friendly rugby union match between England and Australia at Twickenham Stadium (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Eddie Jones admits the Wallabies are in the chasing pack but still close enough to the leaders, the incoming coach declaring the team that improves the most before September’s Rugby World Cup will win it.

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Jones, after a 15-minute technical glitch, gave his first wide-ranging interview from England on Thursday after his shock appointment on Monday.

He said the battle to wear the No.10 jersey in France was wide open, touched on the side’s ill-discipline and current eligibility laws, assessed the health of the code in Australia and had a neat return-of-serve to rugby league powerbroker Peter V’landys in the latest code-war chapter.

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But when asked if he genuinely thought the inconsistent world No.6 side could win the World Cup this year, he was serious.

“There’s no long term; the whole thing is to win the World Cup in 2023,” Jones, who is on a five-year contract, said.

“We have to concentrate on areas that will make the biggest difference to the performance of the team and we have to get selection right.

“And we’ve got to create an environment where players are going to give that little bit more, because nobody knows how much they can give.”

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He turned to racing parlance to assess the current power rankings.

“At the moment France and Ireland are in a horse race, they’re at the front on the top of the rise,” he said.

“But there’s still plenty of work to do.

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“This is the most intriguing World Cup we’ve ever seen.

“Throw in the volatility of the refereeing at the moment with red and yellow cards are like playing in the lottery, you don’t know what you’re going to get.

“You’ve got all these things happening that give us this massive opportunity and it’s an exciting time to be involved.”

He said every player would have a chance to “select themselves” in club rugby and that replacing Rennie before his contract was to expire at the end of this year wasn’t in his control.

“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I can do this better than Dave, or, I’m a better person’, it’s not that at all,” he said.

“It’s the fact that there was an opportunity there that as an Australian when you get a chance to coach your country you want to do it, mate.”

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Jones had already indicated he will seek out former rugby stars now playing NRL, Australian Rugby League Commission boss V’landys telling AAP that he wasn’t concerned given the tedious nature of the code.

Asked for his thoughts, Jones said V’landys – also the chief executive and a board member of Racing New South Wales – had been “sitting in the TAB too much” and invited him to a Super Rugby game.

“We might even get, what’s his name, the horse guy, to a media conference … V’Landys,” Jones smirked.

But he admitted there was a fight to reconnect the public with the team and the sport, forecasting some changes to his coaching and preparation to illicit that.

“If we can play some good rugby, people will want to watch us play,” he said.

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