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Watch: Epic video of Eddie Jones' first Wallabies training in 2001

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dave Rogers/Allsport)

With Eddie Jones confirmed on Monday as the new Wallabies coach for a second stint through to 2027, a video has emerged of the 62-year-old in charge of his first training session in Australia in 2001. The Wallabies had just defeated the British and Irish Lions 2-1 in the Test series when the then 41-year-old Jones – who had coached Australia A to victory over the touring Lions – took over from the retiring Rod Macqueen.

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The two-minute clip posted to Linkedin by Anthony George, the Wallabies media unit producer from June 2001 through to October 2014, showed Jones running a training session in the Perth rain and contained interviews with both the coach and skipper John Eales.

Asked what his first night training the national team was like, Jones answered: “There is plenty of enthusiasm out there. We went through new plays, a bit of learning and obviously the conditions weren’t fantastic. It was a really good session. Guys are really keen to work hard and we know we have got a lot of work ahead of us.

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“The players have been terrific, they have been very professional and very friendly and we are all looking forward to working together. The guys were very positive tonight. They realise the Lions series is over and we have got to get on with the Tri-Nations campaign.

“It was always going to be difficult coming down from a good victory against the Lions but we have got a period of time where we made the adjustment and are really focused on doing well in the Tri-Nations now. In terms of fitting in it’s a bit of both. The planning that has been done has been very good but we can also fine-tune and improve it. We will be working together.”

Eales added about the Wallabies’ first session under Jones: “It was excellent. We had a fair bit of organisational issues to go through there but they went very smoothly. The whole training session was very well structured, the guys are very enthusiastic and it all augers well. It’s a difficult task for Eddie. It’s a big ask for him to take over halfway through the season but he is very well prepared. He has been involved throughout the season so the transition isn’t too much of a problem.”

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A fortnight after the Lions series had ended, Jones lost his first game in charge, the Wallabies getting beaten by the Springboks 15-20 in Pretoria. However, they bounced back to draw the return game versus South Africa in Perth and then beat the All Blacks away and home to win the Tri-Nations. Jones then took the Wallabies to the final of the 2003 World Cup before getting sacked after the 2005 November tour.

Now working as a digital media advisor for the Queensland government, ex-Wallabies media unit boss George wrote: “Deja vu. Welcome back, Eddie Jones. Like most Australian rugby union fans, it was fantastic to see today’s big news – Eddie is coming home to coach the Wallabies again. I was very fortunate to be part of his management team when he became Wallabies head coach in 2001.

“The Wallabies had just memorably defeated the British and Irish Lions – and we farewelled Rod Macqueen after a brilliant coaching career. Then Eddie prepared the Wallabies for the Bledisloe Cup and the Tri-Nations Championship that followed.

“Even though it was challenging for Eddie to come in halfway through the international season, I saw first-hand what a class act he is and the success he was able to drive. The legendary John Eales finished his career alongside Eddie and won the Bledisloe in Dunedin. That was the last time we beat the All Blacks in NZ.

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“To cap off a memorable season, Toutai Kefu scored a last-minute try against the mighty ABs in Sydney – and Eddie was handed the Tri-Nations trophy. I captured the moment he coached the Wallabies for the first time in Perth and – as you can see here – he doesn’t mess around.

“In my view, he is exactly what the Wallabies need leading into this year’s Rugby World Cup and beyond. Eddie will make sure Australian rugby is back on everyone’s lips. I can’t wait!”

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