Eddie Jones isn’t everyone’s cup of English breakfast tea. After being unceremoniously dumped from both the England and Australian head coach jobs within the space of a year, the 63-year-old has left in his wake a trail of destruction, doubt, anger, and disappointment.
Whilst it’s easy for us to sit here and claim that his recent appointments have been nothing short of a disaster, there are always a million and one different moving parts going on in the background. It’s easy to forget that during his time as England coach, he recorded an all-time best England coach win rate of 73%, led them to a World Cup final, guided them to an unbeaten year in 2016, and achieved a plethora of other achievements.
Even with the recent failed tenure at the Wallabies, old-time jousting partner David Campese pointed the finger not at Jones, but at the Rugby Australia board behind him.
Whilst everyone is likely to have different opinions about the man, Jones has taken exception to one former coach that he himself has particular issue with, Sir Clive Woodward.
As a guest on England rugby league great James Graham’s The Bye Round Podcast recently, Jones said: “You’ve got to be forthright with what you think” started Jones. “He hasn’t coached since 2005 and he’s the ‘world’s best coach.’ You’re the world’s best coach when you don’t coach. What’s the old thing, the man in the arena?
“He’s consistently criticising. We had a bit of a thing when we were England and Australia coach, but his great gripe is that he wanted to be director of rugby at England. He wanted to oversee it and he never got that job. After the World Cup in 2019, he ran an internal campaign with the RFU to take that position and he did it behind my back and I thought it was quite sneaky and deceitful.
“So every time since, if he says something, I really don’t value his thoughts at all and I don’t like him as a bloke. Because he was so deceitful. Most blokes in our sport, they’re generally face-to-face, and I don’t mind that. If someone has a different opinion, say it and we’ll have a debate about it. But when people start doing things behind your back, and particularly the power he had in the media, I thought it was a bit red hot.
“He made it personal by doing all that stuff behind the scenes. He’ll deny it to the hilt. But I always find it a bit sad, and I hope that when I do finish coaching I don’t become one of those blokes that knows everything. ‘He should have done thing, he should have made the change here’- coaching and playing is all about foresight, being a pundit is all about hindsight and you’re always right.”