Set small text size
Set the default text size
Set large text size
Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has played down the significance of the team lists he was captured scribbling down on a notepad during Super Round.
Jones was snapped by a punter in the crowd writing team lists on a notepad during a game at AAMI Park on Sunday. The fan put the image up on Twitter although later deleted it.
“I’m always doing selection. That selection will have 45 drafts,” Jones said on his weekly podcast Eddie, on Friday.
“I don’t know what went on Twitter but by the time I finished I was already up to draft four. It’s quite inconsequential. But you can’t trust anyone these days. Sometimes I’m too trusting. I was just sitting out there with the punters because I like to sit out with them.
“I was in between watching a game and it wasn’t really capturing me so I decided I’d do something a bit useful and just scribbled down some names. Since that draft has been written I’ve done another three or four drafts.
“As we get assistant coaches in and we build the coaching staff, we’ll build that squad up. Well done to that fan, they should get a wrap. I’m sure they’re popular on Twitter for their 19 seconds of fame.”
Jones was speaking from St Etienne while on a reconnaissance tour to the Wallabies’ World Cup base in France. The Aussie coach, who sounded slightly impacted by jet lag (or Kronenbourg), was in fine form as he sledged the Victorian government for a mishap during Super Round, and went on a riff about Ed Sheeran.
He also reflected on the impact law changes have had through the opening two rounds of Super Rugby.
“We’ve got fatigue back in the game, that’s the big thing,” said Jones. “The ball in play hasn’t changed much – it’s still around the 34-35 minutes but what we’re finding is that the ball out of play has decreased considerably – up to about 17 percent which means periods of work are now followed by shorter periods of recovery.
“Because we’re getting that we’re getting fatigue in the game which is opening the game up, probably favouring attacks a little bit.
“Referees have been really hard on the jackler putting their hands past the ball and I think they really need to continue to do that. The fact is if you let the jackler get his hands past the ball firstly he’s a very low position and then, to clean that player out, head contact is difficult to avoid.
“If we can keep the jackler up higher, keep the work rates the same, get the recovery shorter, as has been progressing, we’re going to get fatigue back in the game and if we do we get a bit more space and a bit more ball movement which is all really positive.
“The quality of Super Rugby in the first two rounds has been pretty good and certainly from a punter’s point of view more entertaining and people will want to watch that sort of rugby.”
Jones was a busy man in Melbourne, putting on a clinic for 60 coaches – where his arrival was delayed by roadworks (“I’ve got to have a word to the Victorian government, mate. It took an hour and 20 minutes to get from the Intercontinental down to the AAMI Stadium. All the roads are one lane. I don’t know if that government’s going to get in the next election mate!”) – and meeting business leaders.
His podcast co-host David Pembroke expressed surprise to hear that Melbourne was pushing to host the 2027 World Cup final, which allowed Jones to chat about Ed Sheeran – the singer who drew 215,000 fans to two nights at the MCG last weekend while the Super Round struggled for support down the road.
“It didn’t take me by surprise because they’ve got the best rugby ground in the world – the only rugby ground where the opposition’s got an advantage over New Zealand. That’s a pretty good rugby ground.
“You can get a 110,000 punters in there – because that Ed Sheeran, what about his average crowd attendance? He averages 100,00 – all he has to do is turn up and he gets 100,000. We might need a few more redheads in the Wallaby side and we might be a chance of getting over 100,000.”