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‘People don't get it’: Aaron Smith on the return of Eddie Jones to the Wallabies

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

All Blacks star Jordie Barrett broke the hearts of Wallabies fans with an 81st minute try at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium in September, which locked up the Bledisloe Cup for another year.


For Australian rugby fans, the controversial match-winner added more pain and frustration onto 20 years of All Blacks dominance.

Rugby fans will always remember the legendary kick from John Eales to secure the Bledsoe Cup for Australia in 2000, and the men in gold held onto the prestigious cup for another couple of years.

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But their run of five-consecutive Bledisloe Cup triumphs came to an abrupt end in 2003, with New Zealand winning both Test matches – including a 29-point win in Sydney.

The All Blacks had reclaimed the Bledisloe Cup, and they haven’t looked back since.

Two decades of dominance followed. No matter how close the Wallabies have come, the All Blacks have done just enough to cling onto trans-Tasman bragging rights.

Last year, the Wallabies appeared to be on their way to a hard-fought win in Melbourne – before a controversial decision from referee Mathieu Raynal gifted New Zealand one more chance.

The All Blacks took full advantage, and the rest – as they say – is history.

While thousands of Wallabies fans left Marvel Stadium disappointed, plenty of New Zealanders remainded in their seats as captain Sam Cane hoisted the Bledisloe Cup in triumph.


Veteran halfback Aaron Smith has opened up about the importance of the Bledisloe Cup, saying the rivalry brings out “the best” of the All Blacks.

“Eddie Jones will be massive,” Smith said on The Ice Project. “People don’t get it, he’s a winner and everywhere he’s gone he’s won.

“You think of what he’s gonna bring and the World Cups here, the Lions Series is coming, there’s big things coming for rugby and Aussie’s really got to capitalise on that.

“I think the Bledisloe relationship, when I grew up, we didn’t have it. In the 2000s, John Eales broke my heart.


“In the late 90s, even then we’d win the first game and come to Sydney or they’d come to Auckland we lost. The Bledisloe, I felt like we never had it.

“That means so much to us All Blacks, the Bledisloe, and (you don’t want to be) that guy or that team (that loses it).

“People will go, ‘It doesn’t mean anything.’ It does. That cup means so much to us.

“It’s the old rivalry, Aussies and South Africa are the biggest rivalries for us as All Blacks… playing the Aussies in Sydney or playing the Aussies at Eden Park, you’d get it, this is history for us as All Blacks.

“They bring the best out of us too because if you don’t get it right, the Aussies never give up… you’ve always got to respect (them), the fight in the Aussie is tough.”

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has some fairly ambitions goals for the Australian national team, but his track record speaks for itself.


Rugby Australia appointed Jones as the Wallabies coach in January, and the 63-year-old has his first chance to manage the squad at a training camp last month.

Speaking with two-time World Cup winner Tim Horan on Stan Sport, Jones highlighted the Bledisloe Cup as one of his three big goals for the year.

While some rugby fans may scoff at the idea of the Wallabies finding their 20 years of Bledisloe Cup pain, Jones is a winner – as Smith said, “no one knows what’s gonna happen.”

“People stifle positivity so much right now,” he added. “People think, ‘oh why say something if you can’t back it up?’

“No one knows what’s gonna happen in September, October.

“I grew up, you would say things and people would laugh at you and you’d go, ‘I’ll prove you wrong.’

“It’s so interesting.”


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