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‘Keeps you on your toes’: What it's like to be coached by Eddie Jones

By Finn Morton
Head coach Eddie Jones during the Australian Wallabies training session at Sanctuary Cove on June 29, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Ahead of Australia’s clash with Argentina in Sydney, Wallabies Matt Philip and Rob Leota have given a fresh insight into the coaching genius of Eddie Jones.

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There’s no denying the fact that Jones is one of the greatest coaches in the history of rugby union. Certainly in the professional era, Jones’ CV is practically unrivalled.

Jones has led both Australia and England to Rugby World Cup Finals, was part of the coaching team that won the ’07 tournament with South Africa, and of course there was that win with Japan.

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Jones is a winner and has experienced success with nations around the world.

Even Pumas boss Michael Cheika, who will go head-to-head with Jones on Saturday, described Jones as a “quality coach” – adding that “that’ why Australia wanted to have him back.”

Many rugby fans, pundits and players admire Jones, while others are quite critical of the 63-year-olds methods as an elite coach.

But the current crop of Wallabies appear to be taking to Jones’ philosophy.

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Second rower Matt Philip, who has been named on the bench for this weekend’s clash with Los Pumas in Sydney, said he has “really enjoyed” being coached by Jones.

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“It definitely keeps you on your toes a bit,” Philip told reporters on Thursday.

“That expectation and that aura that Eddie brings, it’s been really cool to be a part of.

“You can see why he gets so much success with the teams he’s with because he’s so clear on what he wants and he’s really good at getting that out of the players.

“I’ve’ really enjoyed being in this environment so far and I now we’re gonna get the results.”

The Wallabies started their new era under Jones with a disastrous loss to the world champion Springboks in Pretoria last weekend.

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Australia opened the scoring in the eighth minute through world-class winger Marika Koroibete, but that’s as good as things got for the visitors.

The Springboks took control, and ended up running away with a 43-12 demolition of Jones’ Wallabies.

But the Wallabies aren’t panicking.

Melbourne Rebels forward Rob Leota, who is also set to come off the pine against Argentina, was adamant that Jones “believes in” the playing group.

“Eddie just constantly gives us confidence regardless of the result,” Leota said. “We know we didn’t do the job up in South Africa but all we can control is putting a result out against Argentina.

“The best thing about Eddie is just the confidence he gives us. For me and Matty to be on the bench now… we’re out there to do a job and he believes in us. That’s all that matters.”

The Wallabies host Argentina at Sydney’s CommBank Stadium on Saturday at 7.45 pm AEST.

With less than two months to go until this year’s Rugby World Cup in France, the Wallabies will be eager to bounce back from their disappointing defeat to the Boks.

It’s the Wallabies’ first of two Test matches on home soil this year. The All Blacks will travel to Melbourne for the opening Bledisloe Cup clash in a couple of weeks’ time.

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William 1 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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