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'Come on over… Eden Park is waiting': The challenge waiting for 'little Eddie'

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

The Wallabies haven’t won the Bledisloe Cup sine 2002. Back then, legendary scrumhalf George Gregan was the captain, and Eddie Jones was the coach.

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Two decades of pain, frustration and disappointment have ensued for the Wallabies, as a number of talented teams have failed to win back bragging rights from their Trans-Tasman rivals.

But there’s hope.

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Eddie is back.

Following multiple media reports on Monday morning, Rugby Australia confirmed that coach Dave Rennie have been axed from his role eight months out from this year’s World Cup in France.

Instead, Jones will spearhead the Wallabies’ campaign after signing a five-year deal.

This deal, which is both controversial and a risk, has the potential to reignite the passion for the 15-player game Down Under.

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Jones is box office, his personality alone will do wonders for the game; but he’s also one of the best coaches that international rugby has ever seen.

Wherever he goes, success follows – but his second tenure with the Wallabies may define him the most.

Two-time World Cup winning Wallaby Tim Horan took to Twitter on Monday following Jones’ appointment, where he outlined what the 62-year-old needs to do to justify his appointment.

The Wallabies have come close against the All Blacks in years gone by, but have fallen short time and time again.

History suggests that an impossible challenge awaits Jones’ Wallabies.

Speaking on Mornings with Ian Smith, former New Zealand cricketer and rugby commentator Ian Smith issued Jones a challenge on behalf of Aotearoa.

“Well is it as simple as this: would Australia have sacked Dave Rennie if England hadn’t sacked Eddie Jones?” Smith said on SENZ.

“Will we ever know the answer to that? I mean, behind the scenes, were there moves already afoot?

“It’s fair isn’t it that far removed from what New Zealand Rugby was contemplating over here just a month ago, the same thing has happened in Australia except they’ve pushed the go button in Aus, and we pushed the stay option.

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“Was it Dave Rennie’s fault he never seemed to have a fit and available top combination?

“Was it Dave Rennie’s fault Bernard Foley couldn’t kick the ball out in time? It would’ve been a crucial Wallabies win and we know how obsessed they are with their inability to match the All Blacks under any coach.

“Dave Rennie will get easily get another high-profile coaching role. Hell, he got sacked yesterday and will probably even have one today.

“He’s that good he should, and who would bet against him being at the World Cup anyway in some role for some country? Not I.

“It’s a sure wager that it’s going to be so much more fun beating the Wallabies with little Eddie at the helm, he’s just that kind of guy.

“Come on over Eddie, give it your best shot. Eden Park is waiting for you.”

The Wallabies haven’t won at Eden Park since 1986.

Another impossible task? Maybe. But the challenge is there.

This year’s Trans-Tasman rivalry begins at the end of next month with Super Rugby Pacific, before the World Cup kicks off in September.

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