Eddie Jones has rewarded form – and reputation

Eddie Jones has rewarded form – and reputation

1. What Vunivalu’s selection says about Jones

Suliasi Vunivalu’s selection in the first Wallabies squad of the year comes as his form in Super Rugby is in reverse gear. He appeared to be carrying an injury against the Crusaders on Friday, but all season his work rate has been poor. Andy Muirhead and Corey Toole clearly don’t fit the Eddie Jones model. Power it is, then, for the Wallabies this year, although Dave Rennie employed the same strategy with mixed results.

In fact, what strikes you about this squad is how similar it is to the one Rennie would have picked. The distrust of Harry Wilson and Noah Lolesio remains, despite the fact Ben Donaldson looked crestfallen after the Waratahs’ loss to the Brumbies – no doubt feeling like he had lost the game and his Wallabies spot. It is not a shocking squad by any means, and confirms how much value Jones puts in NRL form, even if that occurred years ago.

2. Max Jorgensen’s value goes up and up.

The figure that Rugby Australia had in mind for Jorgensen’s contract extension on Friday won’t be enough by Monday. The Waratahs fullback’s speed, footwork and mature decision-making was there for all to see against the Brumbies, particularly in the break that led to Lalakai Foketi’s try.

If the new benchmark is the $1.5 million reportedly being paid to Joseph Suaalii from 2025, what is Jorgensen worth? By the time Suaalii joins rugby, Jorgensen might already have a Rugby World Cup campaign under his belt, if Eddie Jones presses ahead with that plan. Welcome to the world of wage inflation.

Max Jorgensen races upfield ahead of a Waratahs try.

Max Jorgensen races upfield ahead of a Waratahs try.Credit: Getty

3. Larkham’s entertainers

The Waratahs deserve credit for turning up in Canberra. They were physical and accurate, and winger Dylan Pietsch’s return has bee

…. to be continued
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