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Stephen Moore says Rugby Australia lack vision, Eddie Jones must come clean

By AAP
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Straight-shooting former Australia Test captain Stephen Moore says Eddie Jones must come clean on the Japan job and the Wallabies coach should fall on his sword if he has been interviewed.

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In France watching the World Cup, the 129-Test legend has been dismayed by the Wallabies’ dire performance under Jones, with their record loss to Wales following Fiji an intolerable low for the two-time champion team.

Moore played at three World Cups, captaining the Wallabies to a loss to New Zealand in the 2015 final – a far cry from the current tournament with Australia set to miss the quarter-finals for the first time.

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Moore told AAP that Jones’s link to Japan was the latest event in some “alarming behaviour” shown by the 63-year-old, who replaced Dave Rennie in January.

“I was excited when Eddie came in as he’s been a good coach for a long time, but I didn’t expect it to go this poorly,” 40-year-old Moore said.

“Certainly some of the decisions that have been made and some of the behaviour has been a little bit alarming and very different to the type of Eddie that I would have worked with very early in my career and that’s been really disappointing.”

Moore said Jones’s position was untenable if he had been looking to join Japan less than a year into his five-year Australian contract.

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“If that’s accurate, I just can’t see how we can continue with that,” Moore said.

“Japan are looking for a coach and they’re in the process of recruiting a coach so Eddie is either going for it or he’s not.

“Whatever his involvement is, we need to hear that and if it’s accurate that he’s been engaging with Japan … I can’t see how he can continue to coach Australia.

“As a player, I would find that very difficult.”

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Putting his hand up to help, Moore said the problem went beyond Jones, laying the blame at Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan and his board with seemingly reactionary decisions and empty rhetoric.

He used the rapid appointment of Jones without the knowledge of the then CEO and the multi-million dollar deal for untested youngster Joseph Aukuso-Suaalii as examples.

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“The coach piece is one part but the big picture has lacked any kind of checks and balances or strategy throughout over the last three or four years,” said Moore, the CEO of an insurance brokerage in Brisbane

“There seems to be a lot of captains picks in many different areas, there doesn’t seem to be any real governance around some of this stuff … there’s a lot of things going on that are very unconventional.

“It’s the member unions’ role is to make sure that we have the appropriate governance in place to ensure we’re going in the right direction and there’s consensus around decisions being made.”

Points Flow Chart

Wales win +34
Time in lead
79
Mins in lead
0
99%
% Of Game In Lead
0%
74%
Possession Last 10 min
26%
5
Points Last 10 min
0

Moore wanted to see a solid strategy to solve the game’s woes, whether that involved centralisation or cutting Super Rugby teams, and a renewed focus on grassroots.

“For some time there’s been lack of a strategy or a long-term vision for the game at every different level; at the Wallabies, at the grassroots, club rugby, Super rugby, the third tier, I can’t put my finger on any type of direction we have for that stuff.

“We need to build a governance model, a high-performance model, a grassroots system that is going to be the best in the world – that’s what we should be aiming for and at the moment, we’re kidding ourselves if we think what we’re doing is going to get us there.”

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Poorfour 5 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

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