Eddie Jones: A narrow loss ‘not good enough’ against New Zealand Super Rugby sides

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones has set Australia’s Super Rugby outfits big targets if the national team are to improve under his guidance.

Unlike recent years, the Aussies have started the campaign relatively positively against their New Zealand counterparts.

The Rebels came close against the Hurricanes on Saturday and on Sunday the Brumbies managed to overcome the Blues.

Although the Reds were well beaten by the ‘Canes last weekend, the signs look much more promising for the Australians.

Jones, however, is not settling for just being competitive and is setting high standards for the franchises this season.

Dominating New Zealand

“We’ve got to beat them. [A close loss] is not good enough for us. We need to beat the New Zealand sides,” he told ABC.

“The Rebels hung in the game, they could have got blown right out … you need to stay in the game with that intensity against the New Zealand sides. You can’t let them get on top.

“That’s what we want to see going forward, we want to see our players dominating the New Zealand players.”

A number of experienced players stepped up during the Super Rugby Pacific weekend, but there are also several youngsters coming through and impressing all onlookers.

“That’s the exciting part for Australian rugby. There’s some good, established players – Quade and [Bernard] Foley and Ala’alatoa and [James] Slipper and Hooper – and then we’ve got this emerging young talent coming through. We’ve just got to get the mix right in the team,” Jones said.

One international who won’t be considered going forward is Rory Arnold, who continued his Australian exile by signing for a club in Japan.

Having spent three years in Toulouse, Arnold then decided to join Hino Red Dolphins, at team that plays in Japanese rugby’s second tier.

He also declined the opportunity to play for the Wallabies in during the 2022 end-of-year series, something which did not impress Jones.

Not in contention

“He didn’t come on the November tour, so he made a decision not to play for Australia on the November tour, by his own volition,” he said.

“At the moment, players who do that aren’t in our recognition. We want players who want to play for the Wallabies. That’s commonsense. If he rings up and says he wants to play for the Wallabies, then we’ll have a chat to him.”

Jones was equally dismissive when asked about Dan McKellar, after the 46-year-old stepped down from his position as forwards coach of the Wallabies to sign a deal with English Premiership team Leicester Tigers.

“We want people who want to be in our system, we don’t want people who want to be their own head coach, there’s only one head coach, so we need guys who want to be good assistants. As good a coach as Dan is, we wish him all the best, but we’ve moved on,” the 63-year-old added.

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