Eddie Jones faced the media in the midst of a Wallaby identity crisis, as he looked to reassure the Aussie public that he was with the squad for the long run.
“I love working with young players,” Jones started. “I loved seeing some of the young players maturing during the World Cup – and some struggled, and that is part of it. I love the game and I love coaching those players, 100 per cent.
“If you look at the number of players we took to the World Cup, the number of players who are still to reach their peak – players like (Fraser) McReight, (Tate) McDermott, (Ben) Donaldson, (Tom) Hooper, (Max) Jorgensen – there are a number of players there who are at the start of their international career.
“Most of them showed during the World Cup that they have enough to really go forward and be very good players for Australia. We throw in a few other players from around the place and we have a nucleus of a really good team. That is the most positive thing” Eddie concluded.
“I’ve got the experience of being in difficult situations before, this is not an unusual situation. You’ve got a team that was struggling for a period of time. You’ve got underneath it a system that’s not supporting it. And at some stage, you bottom out.
“This is the opportunity now to change the team, as we’ve started, picking younger players with bright futures. We’ve got to look at the development system underneath as well. This is not a simple equation that ‘the Wallabies are bad’.
“Let’s be serious about this. The Wallabies are not where they need to be. But underneath that, we need to fix the system to go forward. “If we can do that now, we’ve got a rosy future” Jones reiterated.
“Sometimes, when you have changed, everyone hates change because it is uncomfortable. Everyone likes the status quo,
“And we had the courage, whether it be the right courage, to make the choice that we would go with a younger squad. The young squad will stand Australia in good stead.”
Looking back on his comments prior to the World Cup, Jones suggested that perhaps they weren’t the wisest:
“Probably need to give myself an uppercut.”
Eddie Jones reflects on his comments before departing for the Wallabies’ ill-fated World Cup campaign. pic.twitter.com/GGoV2t2S5s
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Reflecting on the challenges that he and the squad have faced, Jones added: “I didn’t come back to Australia to have a holiday, sit down on Coogee beach, eat fish and chips, have a nice flat white. It was always gonna be a battle mate. It’s always a battle.”