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Eddie Jones on the 'massive differences' between English, Australian and Japanese players

By Josh Raisey
Michael Hooper of Australia and Owen Farrell of England take part in the coin toss with referee Jaco Peyper prior to the Autumn Nations Series match between England and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on November 13, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Eddie Jones is in quite a unique position in the coaching sphere having coached three different international teams, across vastly different cultures.

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What makes his position, and insight, even more unique is that his two stints coaching Australia were over 20 years apart, meaning he could see how much an entire institution has progressed, or even regressed.

Few can rival the mix of players and environments Jones has worked with in the game of union across his career so far, and he has picked up on some clear differences between players from different countries.

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The Australian recently highlighted the stark differences in work ethic between the English players and Australian players on ex rugby league star James Graham’s The Bye Round Podcast, pinpointing the intensity of their club competitions as a driving force behind that. Moreover, the 63-year-old explained how Australia’s approach had changed between his two stints in charge of the Wallabies, and not in a good way.

“The big thing is how hard they work at their game,” Jones said. “How hard independently they work at their game. There is a massive difference around the world in rugby in that area, massive differences.

“If you’re in an intense competition, you’ve got to keep working at your game hard. That drives a necessity to work hard. And you find there’s big differences in work ethic in players.

“England players, because of the comp they play in – the European comp is pretty hard – they work really hard at their game. And they’re independent in how they work at their game. They don’t need to be told what to do. Then you’ve got someone like Owen Farrell, who’s at his game, he’s at it the whole time. He’s just a driver. So you’ve got that role model there and it tends to flow down. And they’re a really hard working team.

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“Australia, when we first started professional rugby, we were the hardest working team in the world because we were able to model ourselves off rugby league and AFL. You look at the success of NRL and AFL, it’s because players work so bloody hard and the standard’s so good. For domestic comps, they’re unbelievable. So we were able to borrow that initially and we were able to win the World Cup in 1999 because of that. We’ve probably tailed off a little bit now, and that’s an area that can improve.

“They just need more initiative to do it themselves. When you’ve got a good team, they’re doing it themselves, you’re not prodding them. In the course of the World Cup, they really improved a lot and I reckon the group of players Australia’s got now will take that forward and I don’t think that will be a problem going forward. When you get comfortable, that’s when you stop working hard.

The three-time Six Nations winner seemingly reserved his most respect and admiration for the Japanese players though, whom he coached between 2012 and 2015.

“Then the Japanese, they’re different mate- they’re different,” he said.

“They’re completely dedicated to their craft, Japanese players. Sometimes you do [have to pull them back a bit]. And I remember going to a session, and you go to a session and the players are slow out and they’re sitting around- you know they’re tired. They’re all body language things. So I said, ‘right boys, we’re not training today,’ and I had players in tears because they wanted to train. So we didn’t train, and the next day we trained at such an intensity, it was incredible. It just reinforced the fact that sometimes you have to pull them back.”

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15 Comments
J
Jon 203 days ago

players work so bloody hard and the standard’s so good. For domestic comps, they’re unbelievable. So we were able to borrow that initially and we were able to win the World Cup in 1999 because of that. We’ve probably tailed off a little bit now, and that’s an area that can improve.
Funny, didn't Deans say the players aren't putting in enough work to get fit, what two decades ago now?

F
Francisco 227 days ago

I had the opportunity to meet Eddie Jones in Argentina, attending 2 conferences sponsored by Sud América Rugby. I did not find a multicolored genius, but rather a sharp talent, with very lucid and innovative tactical concepts. It was during his first period as ENG coach. Then everything became murky and heavy, when his profile as a 'serial challenger' emerged using specialized journalism as a vehicle, in the style of Rassie.

F
Flankly 230 days ago

The Eddie hating comments are boring and ignorant. He is one of the most accomplished international coaches of all time. And one of the most innovative.

I hope that an international team with real potential places a long-term bet on him. His style is not everyone’s cup of tea, and many of us did not like how he approached the Australia job this year. But there are few coaches with a quarter century of international coaching, three 6N wins, two RWC finals, most successful England coach, etc.

Eddie has some radical ideas on how to play the game, and, given his experience, they are very likely to be interesting. I really hope he finds an opportunity in which he is given the space and time to experiment and implement some of his ideas.

P
Pete 242 days ago

Yep, must take total dedication to kick the ball evey time you get it, as The Poms do. Must have to train their a** off to play such a demanding game, and think of the detailed planning it must take.

J
Jon 242 days ago

Mate, the team that just hired me is the best at their craft, mate….Sure mate - now just disappear already

L
Lee Byron 243 days ago

Of course he’ll be positive about the Japanese players coz he’s hoping to get a job with them!

K
Kara 244 days ago

Didn’t read the article - don’t care what Ed thinks about anything.

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Jon 3 hours ago
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