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Thursday Dec 14, 2023

Eddie Jones claims Rugby Australia weren't able to support plans in gripping press conference

Eddie Jones always seems to make the headlines, even when he’s not working. Everything the man says and does seems to be controversial, and it’s not stopping now.

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Recently announced to be the new head coach of Japan Rugby, Jones has come under fire for the comments he made during his (extremely short) tenure as Wallaby coach. Rumoured to have met up with Japanese selectors shortly before Australia’s disastrous World Cup campaign, the 63-year-old Aussie was forced to come out denying any discussions that may or may not have involved taking control of the Japan national side post-World Cup.

In his first press conference since being announced as head coach, Jones has come out all guns firing, stating that his first interview with Japan Rugby happened only in December, and not in the weeks running up to the World Cup.

When asked to clarify the order of events that led to his new role, Jones said: “I didn’t do an interview before the World Cup, I was asked by the recruitment agency to share my experiences with them on Japan, and some people might have construed that as an interview, it certainly wasn’t. The first interview I had with japan was in December, and that’s the only interview I’ve had.”

Jones wanted to make it clear that he regrets the way the results went in the World Cup, stating: “I apologise to Australian fans. I gave everything I could for that short period of time, and it wasn’t good enough. I had a plan of what we needed to do to change Australian rugby and we weren’t able to do that, rugby Australia weren’t able to support that, so I decided to move on.

“I wish rugby Australia all the best. I feel terrible about the results of Australia because I wanted to go back and change Australia. I feel terrible, mate. But I don’t feel any guilt at all about this process, and I know you’ve [the press] been banging the drum on it, but I haven’t had any interview at all until December.

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This was then backed up by Japanese chairman, but an the eagle eyed reporter pointed out that the initial email prior to the World Cup was titled ‘First round interview with JRFU’.

The reporter questioned Jones saying: “To clarify, the Zoom invitation says ‘first round interview’ on it, so we can beg to differ on that. 

“On October 13 you said you hadn’t spoken to any recruiters or anything like that, the chairman of the JRFU last night confirmed that you had spoken to them before the World Cup, why were you being a bit loose with the truth there? Do you think Australians really believe that your first interview with Japan was only last week?”

Jones was clearly keen to move on when he told the room that they could ‘believe what they want’, before reaffirming his stance on the timeline.

Tom Decent, the Sydney Morning Herald reporter asking the questions, followed up with his own thoughts on Twitter, saying: Eddie Jones says August 25 Zoom call wasn’t an interview. It was 100 per cent an interview. Absolute spin from Jones and JRFU. Reckons his 1st (and last interview) was last Thursday? That’s a beauty. Backtracked on comments at Coogee Oval about no contact with recruiters”

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