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How a former Aussie cricket coach inspired Eddie Jones to 'change' Wallabies rugby

By Finn Morton
New Wallabies coach Eddie Jones (centre) poses with Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan (left) and CEO Andy Marinos (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

When Eddie Jones was the coach of the Wallabies during their golden era in the early 2000s, rugby union was considered one of the most popular sports in Australia.


But the sport isn’t what it sued to be Down Under, and Jones wants to change that.

Legendary coach Jones was in Perth last year, where he spoke with former Australian cricket coach Justin Langer.

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Langer, who resigned from his position as the national teams head coach a year ago, told Jones that Australians “never hear about the Wallabies anymore.”

The Wallabies are coming off a disastrous campaign in 2022, which saw them win just five of their 14 Test matches.

While an incredible comeback win over Wales saw the men in gold avoid their worst season since 1958, clearly the team was in desperate need of change.

Rugby Australia made the surprising decision last month to axe Dave Rennie eight month’s out from this year’s World Cup in France.


Jones signed a five year deal with RA, which will see him lead the Wallabies at the next two World Cups.

After returning to Australian shores, Jones is eager to make some lasting changes in Australian rugby both on and off the field.

“As the Wallabies coach, you do need to create interest,” Jones said on SEN 1170 Mornings.

“We need to create interest in the game.


“I was over in Perth last year and (former Australia cricket coach) Justin Langer told me that we never hear about the Wallabies anymore.

“That’s something I want to change because we want fans back supporting the Wallabies.

“You couldn’t get yourself a ticket to the Bledisloe Cup 20 years ago, but now you can get them quite easily.

“We want to go through that golden period again.”

Since leaving Australian rugby behind in 2005, Jones has risen to legendary status throughout his illustrious career.

After winning the World Cup with the Springboks, the now 63-year-old went on to guide Japan to a famous win over South Africa at the 2015 tournament.

More recently, Jones coached England to the final in 2019.

But under the tutelage of Jones, England fell well short of their hopes and expectations last season. The super coach was axed by the RFU in December,

“At the end of the day, I’ve been coaching long enough to know that if you’re not meeting the expectations of the organisation and the fans, your time is limited.

“We had a tough 2022 as we didn’t do as well as we would’ve liked, the writing was on the wall.

“I try to tell the truth and that gets you into trouble sometimes.

“It was the end of seven years where I thoroughly had a good time.

“All of a sudden, I was on a plan to Australia and heading up a World Cup campaign.”


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