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'The tears kept rolling down my face': Eddie Jones opens up about Wallabies sacking and his greatest regret

By NZ Herald

Eddie Jones has revealed the moment in his career which left him tears – the day he was sacked as the Wallabies head coach.

Jones is set to give exclusive insight into his rugby career in his autobiography ‘Eddie Jones: My Life and Rugby,’ which will be released later this month.

In an extract from the book, Jones opened up about the day he was told his contract with the Wallabies would be terminated following a poor run of results in 2005.

Continue reading below…

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Five days after the Wallabies suffered defeat in Cardiff, Jones was preparing for an end-of-season presentation to the Rugby Australia Board before he received a call from then-president Gary Flowers, who asked him to meet at the office.

“Everything changed as soon as I walked into Flowers’ office,” Jones wrote. “I respected the fact that he didn’t waste any time. He was sympathetic but very direct. They were terminating my contract.

“I heard him out and didn’t argue. I was not about to beg for another chance and so we shook hands. It was very civilised. But it happened so fast I was in shock.

“The first person I called was Pemby [Media consultant David Pembroke]. He was still in the air and his phone switched to voicemail. “Mate,” I said, “don’t worry about the plan. He’s just f***ing sacked me”.

Jones calmly made it through the press conference the following afternoon, after being reminded of his success as a coach despite the year of heartbreak.

He said it was only after fronting the media when the tears came.

“The lift doors opened and we stepped inside. It was just the two of us as the doors closed again with a soft swish. We had just started to descend when the first tears fell.

“I shook my head as the tears kept rolling down my face. My mouth was crumpled into a little ball which I eventually managed to open.

“I wanted to tell Pemby how I felt. Finally, just before we reached the ground floor, I got the words out: “I’ll coach at this level again.”

Staying true to those words, Jones went on to become England’s head coach in 2015 and was the mastermind behind the side that knocked the All Blacks out of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan last month.

Jones also revealed that his one regret in life was not leaving the Wallabies sooner and on his own terms.

Looking back, Jones said he should have stepped down after the 2003 Rugby World Cup – when the Wallabies lost the final at home 20-17 to England.

“It was a mistake to continue but, in retrospect, I understand how much I was struggling. I wanted to atone for that heartbreaking loss by winning the next tournament,” he wrote.

“This happens when you come close and fall just short. You carry the burden of defeat with you for the next few years. It might be buried deep inside you but it twists your thinking.”

This article first appeared on nzherald.co.nz and was republished with permission.

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'The tears kept rolling down my face': Eddie Jones opens up about Wallabies sacking and his greatest regret