Australian rugby coach Eddie Jones is back for 2nd stint

SYDNEY (AP) — Eddie Jones made his first appearance as the new Wallabies coach on Tuesday by saying his immediate goal was to win the Rugby World Cup in France later this year.

Jones, who says he is “not the messiah,” began his second stint in charge of Australia this week after being announced as the new coach two weeks ago.

The 63-year-old Jones coached the Wallabies to the World Cup final in 2003, which they lost to England, before being fired in 2005.

But he’s back in charge until 2027 following the firing of Dave Rennie, who led the Wallabies to wins in just five of 14 test matches in 2022.

Rennie was contracted though until the end of the World Cup, which starts on Sept. 8. But Rugby Australia officials moved to sign Jones when he was dismissed as England head coach in December after a poor recent run in England — a 2022 record of six losses, one draw and five wins in 12 tests.

“What wins World Cups and the hearts of people are teams that play with spirit,” Jones said Tuesday. “We want pride back in Australian rugby. That’s the most important thing.

“We’ve got to win the World Cup. If we win, it changes things for rugby in Australia. There are about six teams that are separated by a cigarette paper. It’s so tight.”

Jones won the Six Nations three times with England and racked up 18 straight wins through his mostly successful tenure, which included multiple wins over the Wallabies.

Australia has won the World Cup twice, behind the three each by New Zealand and South Africa.

“I’m not the messiah,” Jones said. “Everyone is in this together, but sometimes you just need someone to beat the drum.”


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