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Test great backs Eddie Jones for coaching miracle with Wallabies

By AAP
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Predicting another golden era for the Wallabies, Test great Joe Roff believes Eddie Jones can pull off a coaching miracle and guide Australia to Rugby World Cup glory.

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Jones has only five Tests before the global showpiece in France starts on September 8 to both settle on a 33-man squad and whip his charges into peak form after being parachuted in to replace Dave Rennie in January.

But if anyone can do it, says Roff, it’s Eddie Jones.

Roff played under Jones in the Brumbies’ triumphant 2001 Super 12 side and also when the Wallabies last won the Bledisloe Cup in 2002 and says he remains the “best coach in the business”.

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He believes having Jones back in charge could prove the difference at what is being tipped as the tightest World Cup yet.

“The psychology and the one per cent wins is something that in my early days playing for the Wallabies we didn’t quite have but we learnt that and we built that as a team,” Roff said on Wednesday when CommBank Stadium was announced as the venue for the Wallabies’ first home Test of the year on July 15 against Argentina.

“Eddie will bring that edge, that psychological edge to the game.

“We know that playing against the Pumas, he’s coaching against his old friend Michael Cheika and let’s hope the acoustics in the respective coaches’ boxes are strong because there will be plenty of noise and rivalry between those two old friends and foes.

“And this is what Eddie is great at. He’s never backward in putting a strong and confident step forward and players will feel that and it will rub off on them.

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“There’s no question about the talent that is in this team and it’s about building the combinations and the winning momentum and so these Test matches early on are going to be an exciting opportunity to get that momentum started.”

Roff featured in Australia’s 1999 World Cup side and the Wallabies team that held the Bledisloe Cup for six straight years from 1998 to 2003.

The newly-appointed Rugby Australia president senses another golden era is just around the corner for the Wallabies.

“I had the great honour of being in the change room when we held the Bledisloe Cup and when we held the Rugby World Cup and I feel like it’s a dam that’s about to burst,” Roff said.

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“Not only with the fact that we have the Rugby World Cup and we’ve always performed well in the northern hemisphere.

“We have the Lions coming (in 2025) and we have a home World Cup in a few years (2027).

“There’s a strong recruitment drive, there’s a strong national agenda and approach to what we’re doing.

“So it’s an exciting time to be a part of it.”

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