Eddie Jones, Scott Robertson agree to coach the Barbarians together
The post-Rugby World Cup era of Eddie Jones coaching the Wallabies against a Scott Roberston-led All Blacks will get off to a cordial start in November when Jones and Roberston come together to coach the Barbarians in a tribute match for Alun Wyn Jones in Cardiff.
Australia boss Jones coached an AWJ-skippered Baa-Baas side to victory in May over a World XV at Twickenham and they will be reunited in a few months’ time for a match against Warren Gatland’s Wales the weekend after the World Cup final in Paris.
Jones has agreed to coach the invitational side alongside Roberston, the incoming All Blacks coach who will succeed Ian Foster following the upcoming tournament in France. The ex-Crusaders boss was in charge of the Baa-Baas last November along with Ronan O’Gara when they defeated an All Blacks XV in a thrilling contest at Tottenham.
The November 4 timing of this latest Baa-Baas fixture will be debated in Welsh rugby circles, though. Wales versus the Baa-Baas is scheduled to kick off at the Principality at 2:30pm on the Saturday just hours before Scarlets will host Cardiff in a regional URC derby in Llanelli at 5:15pm. The match also falls on the same weekend that Ospreys are set to take on the Sharks in London in their URC round three fixture.
A statement read: “Alun Wyn Jones is poised to grace Principality Stadium’s famous turf one more time, for the Barbarians when they play Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, November 4. The fixture will pay tribute to the world’s most-capped player and former Wales captain, as well as provide a homecoming for Wales after the Rugby World Cup in France.
“A host of other star names are also set to feature for the Baa-Baas with further announcements due to be made soon and the game will pit Warren Gatland and his coaching team against Australia’s Eddie Jones and New Zealand’s Scott Robertson, who will lead the opposition.
“The match will offer rugby fans from all over the globe the chance to pay homage to one of the greatest warriors the game has ever witnessed and give Wales head coach Gatland a chance to build on the World Cup experience as he prepares his side for the 2024 Guinness Six Nations campaign.
“Now playing for Toulon in the Top 14, Alun Wyn Jones won 158 caps for Wales and a further 12 for the British and Irish Lions on four tours between 2009-2021, making him the world’s most-capped player with 170 caps. He captained Wales 48 times, led the Lions in the third Test in Australia in 2013 and in the three Tests in South Africa in 2021.”
Eddie Jones said: “Principality Stadium is one of the best places in the world to play rugby and when you add the passion and fervour of a Welsh crowd and the unique and exciting brand of rugby the Barbarians are famous for, we have a match in prospect that will be the envy of fans around the globe.”
Robertson added: “Alun Wyn will have been the first name on many team sheets for many years and I’m not only looking forward to meeting him and coaching him but also watching him in his final dance with a passionate crowd. It’s an honour and a privilege to be asked to coach the Barbarians and I can’t think of a better place to do it than in Cardiff against Wales.”