'Win the World Cup': What Aussie fans 'want to see' from Jones' Wallabies
Incoming Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has one thing on his mind as he prepares to spearhead Australia’s Rugby World Cup campaign in eight months’ time.
And that’s to win.
Australian rugby fans have been put through the ringer over the last few years, as talented squads have failed to deliver time and time again on the international stage.
Bledisloe Cup glory continues to allude the men in gold, and they’ve been cast aside as nothing more than a dark horse for this year’s World Cup following last season’s disastrous campaign.
The Wallabies came frighteningly close to their worst season since 1958, but a stunning comeback win over Wales in Cardiff saw them avoid that unwanted feat.
But after winning just five of their 14 test matches, including a first-ever loss to Italy, the Wallabies were seemingly in desperate need of change.
The writing was on the wall for Dave Rennie, who finished his Wallabies tenure with a 38 per cent win record – the worst of any coach in the professional era.
On Monday morning, Rugby Australia confirmed reports that Rennie had been axed, with former England coach Eddie Jones set to replace him on a five-year deal.
Super coach Jones is a winner; success seems to follow the 62-year-old wherever he goes, and that’s the challenge him now that he’s back in Australia.
As Jones discussed in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and Nine News, Australians love winning teams; that’s the benchmark if you want to remain relevant in a sports-mad nation.
“Fans want to see a winning national team. My job is to ensure we get the most out of the playing group we’ve got,” Jones said.
“We want to find other talent and bring it through. Then we want to engage the fans by being a team in the community. We’d like to do things that connect us with the community.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to win. That’s what people want to see. The Australian cricket team is popular when they win. When they don’t they’re not too popular.”
Jones’ five-year deal back in Australia will see him lead the Wallabies’ against the British and Irish Lions in 2025, and at their home World Cup two years later.
The 62-year-old coached the national team at the last Rugby World Cup on home soil 20 years ago, when the Wallabies fell agonisingly short in the final against England.
With so much on the horizon, it’s simply a special time to be a rugby fan Down Under.
But Jones isn’t getting ahead of himself.
“I’m speaking like a coach here, the only thing I’m really thinking about is the next World Cup,” he added.
“Even the Rugby Championship, we’ve got South Africa away (in July). That’s always a pivotal game to get that right.
“We’ve got five gams leading into the World Cup. We want to win the World Cup. Dave’s left the team in a good position to win the World Cup.
“I think they showed a lot of courage on the last tour to Europe and now we’ve got to build on that.”
Jones revealed that he’s been speaking with Rugby Australia about a potential role “for probably the last 12 months.”
While it remained unclear whether he’d come in as the head coach or in another position, the World Cup winner was expected to return to Australian-shores next year.
But “the situation changed” on Saturday night when he agreed to replace Rennie in the top job.
“I feel for Dave personally.
“Having been through it myself, you understand the feeling. He’s a good man and I’m sure he’ll bounce back in another capacity.
“For me, that’s something I wasn’t in control of. The decision was made by Rugby Australia.
“I can only really focus on the things that I can control. I’m focusing on putting Australian rugby in a good position.”
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