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Eddie Jones will win a World Cup with Australia, but not this one

By Finn Morton
Following a disastrous campaign under former coach Dave Rennie, Rugby Australia decided to take the Wallabies in a completely new direction by signing free agent Eddie Jones to a five-year deal.

In the wake of a challenging period under former coach Dave Rennie, Rugby Australia decided to take the Wallabies in a completely new direction by signing free agent Eddie Jones to a five-year deal in January.

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Jones, who won the 2007 Rugby World Cup with the Springboks as a technical advisor, was supposed to be the messiah that Australian rugby so desperately needed. For a while, many Wallabies fans dared to dream.

With the World Cup in France nigh on the horizon, Jones made his presence felt before a ball was even kicked by an Australian player in the Test arena.

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Jones almost singlehandedly reignited the fierce code war between rugby union and league. The coach spoke freely about his desire to lure NRL stars across to the 15-player game, and these comments poked the rugby league bear.

While Australian teams still struggled in Super Rugby Pacific against their Kiwi foes, it really felt like the Wallabies and Australian rugby were destined for a golden tomorrow.

But here we are, less than a month out from the 2023 World Cup, and things couldn’t have gone further off-script for the men in gold.

Playing under Jones, Australia started their international campaign with a disastrous 43-12 defeat to South Africa in Pretoria. Jones wasn’t happy, and neither were Aussie rugby fans.

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But there was hope. It was one defeat – growing pains were always going to be a part of the job. The focus quickly shifted to a home Test against Argentina which the Wallabies were expected to win.

It was an improved performance, sure, but history will remember that night in Parramatta as another failure or shortcoming. The Wallabies lost a thriller 34-31.

Out with the old and in with the new, rising star Carter Gordon and halfback Tate McDermott were thrust into the starting side for two Tests against the All Blacks. The Wallabies lost them both.

But the new-look halves duo showed plenty of fight, potential and promise. Angus Bell, Tom Hooper, Jordan Petaia and Mark Nawaqanitawase also impressed – and they’re all in their early 20s.

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As the adage goes, “New is always better.” If this is true, then the Wallabies are set for a brighter future.

It’ll come, just have faith.

Australia confirmed their World Cup squad on Thursday, which includes three uncapped players.

There are a total of 25 Wallabies who are set to make their World Cup debuts in France – that’s three-quarters of the squad, and that is nothing short of bizarre.

“We think the young players are the players that are going to take Australian rugby forward,” coach Jones told reporters on Thursday evening.

“This squad’s good enough to win this World Cup and possibly go on and win the next World Cup so that’s the advantage of picking young guys.

“They all deserve their opportunities, it’s not like we’re handing them the jersey on a platter.

“They’ll bring energy and a lot of ambition and enthusiasm to the team.”

Meanwhile, across the ditch, the All Blacks have just named their most experienced Rugby World Cup squad ever. France and Ireland are also set to field in-form squads on the biggest stage.

The Wallabies aren’t contenders, and deep down they must know that, but they’re building for the future and playing the long game.

In four years’ time, the likes of Tate McDermott, Carter Gordon and Max Jorgensen may very well be frontline Wallabies. They’ll carry the hopes of the nation into each and every Test they play.

All three of those players, among others, are set to play a key role in the Wallabies’ upcoming campaign in France. Jones knows what he’s doing – Eddie has a plan.

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Experience can’t be bought – it must be earned, forged in the cauldron that is Test rugby. These players will be better for the opportunity.

Take Carter Gordon as an example. Jones compared the young gun to All Blacks pivot Richie Mo’unga after Bledisloe I.

“I’ve seen Richie Mo’unga play Tests like that,” Jones said after the 38-7 defeat.

Mo’unga has only just found his feet in Test rugby, and it’s taken more than 40 Test matches to get here. Gordon, all going to plan, will have played at least a similar number of Tests by the next World Cup.

That World Cup is on home soil, too.

The Wallabies will have a sea of gold in the crowd whenever they play at the 2027 Rugby World Cup. They’ll have a 16th player on their side whenever they charge into battle.

That makes a difference.

The now youthful Wallabies will be experienced campaigners, bordering on veteran status by 2027. They’ll be playing at home, too.

Why doubt them? With Jones at the helm, anything could happen with these factors in play.

There are also more superstars coming through the Super Rugby ranks or returning to rugby after being lost to the sport.

Sydney Roosters flyer Joseph Suaalii has signed a lucrative deal with Rugby Australia which will see him play for the Waratahs in Super Rugby Pacific.

It’s quite likely that Suaalii won’t be the only ‘leaguie’ to jump over, either.

Brisbane Broncos enforcer Payne Haas is back in the headlines with Rugby Australia lurking, and Jones has previously expressed his interest in Australian representatives Nathan Cleary and Cameron Murray.

If all of those players jump codes, or even just some of them, then the Wallabies will return to their former glory.

Jones would be able to get the most out of them, too – he helped Lote Tuqiri, Mat Rogers and Wendell Sailor jump codes before the ’03 World Cup –  and ensure that they complement the established contingent of Wallabies as well.

Finally, the Junior Wallabies have found some form. They beat the Baby Blacks – the New Zealand U20s – in two of three matches this year. The one loss was by just a single point as well.

With the likes of Teddy Wilson, Mason Gordon – yes, the brother of Carter – and Darby Lancaster coming through, the Wallabies could produce something special under Jones.

They could genuinely have a world-class squad by 2027. But expect them to be well off the pace in France, at least against the likes of New Zealand, Ireland, France and South Africa.

They’re on the ‘easier’ side of the draw, sure, but they’ll probably still face some of those aforementioned teams in the knockout stages. Their ceiling has a limit.

But the exposure of playing at a Rugby World Cup will be invaluable to some players on the rise, and Jones will continue to monitor and maximise their development in the years to come.

By the time their home World Cup rolls around in 2027, the Wallabies could very well be world-beaters.

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Comments

30 Comments
P
Pecos 342 days ago

Eddie Jones, beaten finalist at two RWCs as Head Coach & knocked the ABs out at semifinals stage in both (2003, 2019). I ain't dissing him, not me, no sir, say what you like Eddie, say what you like, lol lmfao.

j
john 344 days ago

Rennie was a joke. Just another utterly hopeless kiwi.

D
Driss 346 days ago

Problem for Eddie jones in 2027 at home : Scott Robertson 😂😂😂. In 2027 all blacks will be unbeatables in Australia. Razor is the best coach and specialist to build squad winning. Eddie ?? Forget 2027 … you will win nothing .
Razor comes and will smash you !

D
Diarmid 346 days ago

Oh Finn, please. You have misread the brief again. Your article reads like a daily mail comments section all rolled into one rambling mess. You have no idea whether or not Australia will show up at this world cup and even less of a clue about the influence of any given coach on the success of a national side. Go write an article about the brilliance of the All Blacks head coach now. Or the hopes and dreams of your boys in white. This is not journalism, it's an England fan with little knowledge of history pontificating online and it's a sad piece of writing at best.

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Greg 346 days ago

Nonsense. He’s about to put a dagger in the heart of chronically ill (self inflicted) Australian rugby. He’s had a luxury Rennie never had (due to an unprecedented injury list) of being able to select a real First XV but he’s utterly screwed it. And now, with a few leading players short of a run though on the comeback trail, he pulls the rug from under the squad by picking an imbalanced and illogical squad for the WC and calls it giving youth a chance. There is enough talent left for the Wallabies to surprise but any positive results will have nothing to do with Eddie’s coaching or his “youth policy”

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mitch 346 days ago

If Tupou is fit and has a big World Cup then the Wallabies may surprise. This is a team with plenty of potential and some quality athletes. A young team so let’s see what Eddie can do with them now.

m
mitch 346 days ago

If Tupou is fit and has a big World Cup then the Wallabies may surprise. This is a team with plenty of potential and some quality athletes. A young team so let’s see what Eddie can do with them now.

D
DR 346 days ago

Eddie Jones has plenty of credibility as a coach but Australian Rugby has suffered neglect for too many years to expect him to simply turn it all around in a few weeks. There are systemic issues within the sport which are going to require time to remodel and rebuild. There is a long way to go in the coming weeks and success often comes down to which team can manage the dynamics of World Cup rugby in all its unpredictable forms over the long haul, not just who looks dominant right now.

D
David 346 days ago

eddie will win a world cup on a play station by boring the other players to death with his moves

F
Forward pass 346 days ago

Eddie wont win a WC. Dream on.

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Wonton 6 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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N
Nick 7 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

18 Go to comments
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