RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP: Eddie Jones back in SA and on a mission to create history at Loftus with the Wallabies

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP: Eddie Jones back in SA and on a mission to create history at Loftus with the Wallabies

Wallaby coach Eddie Jones wasted little time in having a dig at the Springboks with their 2023 Rugby Championship opener looming at Loftus.

With news that the Boks might choose a “second string” team to face the Wallabies, Jones threw a little jab at the Boks.

“What I’m hoping for is their best team,” Jones said in reference to the possible Bok strategy of sending an advance party to New Zealand for the round two clash against the All Blacks in Auckland.

“I want to play against the best. If we want to beat South Africa in Pretoria, we want to play against the best.”

Jones, who suffered a chastening 32-12 defeat in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final when he was England head coach, was sensationally named Wallaby coach earlier this year. Incumbent Dave Rennie was sacked with little warning.

It’s Jones’ second stint in the job, having taken Australia to the 2003 World Cup final on home soil, which the Wallabies lost to England. Ever since he was unveiled as Wallabies boss, the 8 July date has loomed large in both Australian and Springbok rugby calendars.

Love/hate SA

Jones has a love/hate relationship with South Africa, having been assistant coach to Jake White when the Boks won Rugby World Cup 2007 in France. Ironically, he replaced Rassie Erasmus in the Bok set-up that year. Everyone loved him then.

He also accepted the role as Stormers head coach in 2015. Jones was in Cape Town to start the job when he did an astonishing about-turn, literally hours after being presented to the Cape media as the Stormers’ new boss. And accepted an offer to coach England.

His English side easily beat the Springboks at Twickenham in November 2016. But when Rassie Erasmus became Bok coach in 2018, his first major task was a three-Test home series against England.

Siya Kolisi, making his debut as Bok captain under Erasmus’ guidance, led the Boks to a 2-1 series win.

Following the historic 2019 World Cup final in Yokohama, when England were dismantled by a brilliant Springboks, Jones’ time in the England hot seat was always under threat.

It didn’t help that England won only five of their 13 games in 2022, after a second successive Six Nations where they lost three of five games. 

The English media turned on him despite a hugely successful record in his six years in charge at Twickenham.

It was the Springboks who delivered the final nail in Jones’ red roses coffin. The Boks thumped England 27-13 at Twickenham last year, forcing the Rugby Football Union into a hasty “review” after which Jones was unceremoniously jettisoned.

Rory Arnold of the Wallabies thanks fa

…. to be continued
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