Wallabies coach Eddie Jones says he is committed to the national side until the 2027 World Cup, but what happens after this year’s tournament in France is out of his hands.
- Eddie Jones says what happens after the 2027 World Cup “is in the hands of the gods”
- Jones also backed former Wallaby Phil Waugh in his new position as CEO of Rugby Australia
- Jones said ‘high performance was not for everyone’ when asked about Australia’s Super Rugby season
Jones made headlines on a recent trip to the UK due to comments he made on the Evening Standard Rugby Podcast.
The former England coach said that whether the Wallabies win or lose the World Cup this year, it would be ‘time to go’.
Jones, who is contracted until 2027 and was in England to coach the Barbarians against a World XV, said he didn’t want to look beyond this year’s showpiece event but was committed to seeing out his term.
“All I wanted to say was that the only thing I’m concentrating on now is this World Cup and that’s the only thing that really matters, and post that, it’s not for me to discuss,” Jones told ABC Sport.
Jones’s interview made waves as he had previously admitted his regret at staying on in the England job after the team lost the 2019 World Cup final to South Africa. He also coached Australia to a World Cup final in 2003. The Wallabies lost the decider to England and he was sacked in 2005.
“I’ve got a contract that I intend to fulfil but there’s always two sides … all I can concentrate on now is the next four or five months so my intention is to be here until the 2027 World Cup but what happens, that’s up in the hands of the gods,” he said.
Jones also endorsed the appointment of Phil Waugh as CEO of Rugby Australia.
Waugh, who played 79 tests, is the first former Wallaby to hold the position and was unveiled this week, after what chairman Hamish McLennan labelled the “world’s worst secret”. He will take over from outgoing CEO Andy Marinos at the start of July.
“Since he’s retired he’s gone out and, you know, worked at a high level in a bank so he’s certainly got good experience,” Jones said.
“He’s certainly got the right passion for the game and I’m sure he can continue on the good work that Andy Marinos has done.”
Jones acknowledged the scale of the challenge on Waugh’s hands after the former Waratah said fixing the “huge separation” between grassroots rugby and the professional game was his number one priority.
He also emphasised the importance of capitalising on ten years of upcoming major events, including a British and Irish Lions Tour and two home World Cups.
“Being a CEO of a national union is one of the most difficult jobs in the world,” Jones said.
“You’ve got to go right from the pointy end of the sport and professional rugby and go right down to community rugby and know enough information about each of those areas to make considered decisions because everyone is coming to you with their hand out. Everyone wants money and more money.”
Jones admitted his disappointment at the performance of Australian teams in the Super Rugby Pacific competition. While three sides finished in the top eight, only the Brumbies secured a home quarter-final by finishing in fourth spot.
“High performance is not for everyone. It takes an incredible work ethic and then you have to play the right style of game and all of that has got to be looked at, at Super Rugby level by each of the teams to see where they can improve,” he said.
“Because we do need our Super Rugby teams at the top of the table.”
When asked if he thought Australian teams worked hard enough, Jones said he wasn’t sure.
“Well I can’t say that conclusively. All I can say is that there are a number of things you have to put together, to put together a good team, and it’s not my job to tell them how hard they work.
“But it is my job when I get the players from those teams to put them together in a team that does work hard enough to beat New Zealand.”
The Wallabies play their first test under Jones against South Africa in Pretoria on July 8.