Rugby World Cup: Eddie Jones’ Australia ‘scares’ New Zealanders

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Australia will be a threat at the Rugby World Cup under the guidance of Eddie Jones, according to former New Zealand Sevens star Karl Te Nana.

The former England boss took charge of the Wallabies at the end of January, giving him eight months to turn their fortunes around.

Previous head coach Dave Rennie struggled to get Australia firing, ending his tenure with just a 38 per cent win record.

There were signs, however, that the Aussies were beginning to improve in the Autumn Nations Series, losing narrowly to both France and Ireland.

Immediate impact

And with Jones’ ability to make an immediate impact in a role, like he did with England, Kiwi pundit Te Nana is worried about the threat the Wallabies will pose at the World Cup.

“Everywhere he’s gone to, the next 12 to 16 months he’s improved the teams that he’s gone to, and we know he goes alright at a World Cup,” Te Nana said on The Breakdown.

“I’m scared because these Aussies have already shown us that when they get it right (they can be hard to beat).

“In Melbourne, they should have tipped us up, let’s be honest.

“I’ll be interested because Eddie is old school, and it’ll be interesting to see how these newer players in Australia adapt or react to Eddie’s ways.”

All Blacks legend Kieran Read also had his say on Jones and agreed that the 63-year-old could rejuvenate the team, even if he doubted Australia’s World Cup chances.

“It’s a scary proposition. He is a world-renowned coach at international level. What he did with England when he first took over them, they didn’t lose for 17 games, so he has that immediate impact,” he said.

“That could certainly revive a bit of what Australia can do. I don’t see them going on and winning big games in a World Cup, but he will have an impact on them.”

Lack of quality

Sir John Kirwan praised Jones but also questioned the quality of the current side, stating: “They will play to their maximum, but I don’t know if they’ve got the cattle.”

“He got a standing ovation when he walked in, he’s the biggest superstar over there. They love him,” Kirwan added.

“Eddie and I go way back, he will not leave one stone unturned and he will have that team fizzing.

“He doesn’t need any injuries, and he’ll probably find a couple of league players or a couple of passports around the place, and he’ll try and make the strongest team possible.”

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