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Why Eddie Jones ‘felt’ for All Blacks coach Ian Foster

By Finn Morton
England Head Coach, Eddie Jones interacts with New Zealand Head Coach, Ian Foster following the Autumn International match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium on November 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The Wallabies and All Blacks are modern-day gladiators, and the world-famous Melbourne Cricket Ground will host the next instalment of their fiery rivalry on Saturday night.

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Australian coach Eddie Jones couldn’t have summed up the sporting relationship between the neighbouring nations any better, saying both rugby teams “have got good respect for each other.”

But they also “dislike each other” on the field.

The sporting rivalry between Australia and New Zealand is practically unrivalled in the southern hemisphere, and any contest is sure to create headlines.

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Jones, who has beaten the All Blacks five times throughout his legendary coaching career, said the New Zealand “economy is going to suffer” if the visitors lose Bledisloe I on Saturday.

It’s about more than sport when Australia play New Zealand.

But once the full-time whistle sounds, and away from the watchful eyes of fans, media and others within the rugby community, the Wallabies and All Blacks are just like anyone else.

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Coach Jones doesn’t “mind having a glass of red” with his All Blacks counterpart Ian Foster. There’s plenty of admiration and respect between the two teams.

Jones had been hyping up this weekend’s rugby war between the Wallabies and All Blacks for about 13 minutes when he was asked to open up on his relationship with Foster at a press conference on Thursday.

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New Zealand Rugby revealed Foster’s successor in the All Blacks’ hot seat earlier this year, with champion Crusaders coach Scott Robertson to take over as head coach from 2024.

Without a moment of hesitation, Jones spoke about why he “felt for” Foster ahead of “the ultimate Test” at the ‘G.’

“He had a board that reacted to media pressure (with the) appointment of a coaching job,” Jones told reporters. “He could go on and produce one of the greatest All Black teams and then his fate is already sealed.

“I think that’s why we’ve seen a different approach from New Zealand this year. Normally in a World Cup year, they’re very measured in their buildup, they want to peak at the World Cup, but I think because of the situation maybe they’ve taken a different approach.

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“I’ve never seen a New Zealand team come out in The Rugby Championship ready to go straight away. We’ve seen that in the first two games. Probably the first two 40 minutes has been some of the best rugby we’ve seen for a while.

“Maybe that’s got to do with the coaching appointment because I know the players value him greatly as a coach, and we all know he’s a good rugby man.

“They’re playing with a lot of passion and a lot of drive and a lot of direction. For us it’s the ultimate Test.”

The Wallabies take on the All Blacks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday evening in the first of two Bledisloe Cup Test matches.

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1 Comment
F
Forward pass 358 days ago

He doesnt seem to feel sympathy for Dave Rennie. The guy he got sacked by accepting the Wallabies head coaches job. Foster has been givin a job from 2020 to 2023 and will 100% see that thru. EJ is a total hypocrite.

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Shaylen 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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J
Jon 11 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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