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Friday Sep 8, 2023

Eddie Jones takes aim at journalist following question about referee

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones is quite possibly the most talked about coach in the game today.

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Never shy to voice an opinion or to stir up a bit of drama, the 63-year-old has been a constant at the Rugby World Cup over the past twenty years.

Now back at the global showpiece, Jones will be looking to guide the Wallabies to a first title since 1999.

Having somewhat thrown the cat amongst the pigeons with his squad selection by leaving out key veterans, namely long-time captain Michael Hooper. Jones has made it clear that he plans to have his squad carry out a specific gameplan designed around physical dominance.

Leading from the front will be giant Stade Rochelais secondrow Will Skelton, who Jones named as the squad captain prior to departing Australia.

Skelton is considered one of the best locks in the game today and has a resume to match any at club level, having won English Premiership and Champions Cup titles with Saracens and, more recently, back-to-back Champions Cup titles with Stade Rochelais.

Often noted as the difference in the final, namely against Leinster, where his physicality wreaked havoc for the Irish giants, Skelton will be looking to translate this form to the international stage.

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Jones was asked a question about the phases the sport goes through, which, in a rare moment of harmony with the media, he stated left him “really impressed”.

Answering where he felt the modern game was at in its development, Jones said, “We’ve seen the intensity of the game really increase.

“The ball in play, particularly against the bigger countries, your France, your South Africa, the ball in play is really low, but the periods of play are so intense. You can’t afford to make a mistake in that period of play which suits a big forward pack like us.”

The experienced coach then went on to say, “I never dreamt as a coach of Australia that we would be coming to the World Cup with a big pack that can dominate the world, but we have. We intend to use that to our advantage.

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“We’ve got a really big, strong, fast pack that’s ready to take on the opposition. That starts with Georgia.

Jones continued to stress the need for clinical play built off the back of forward dominance.

“You get this almost roller ball type play where you get one opportunity with your backs to take advantage of it, and that’s where you need to be so clinical with it.”
Jones was then asked about English referee Luke Pearce and the importance of him in the outcome of the Wallabies match-up with Georgia.

“World Rugby is here, aren’t they? I’m sure they’re here somewhere. You know they are always in the shadows. They’ve got listening devices everywhere; everything you say gets recorded, and you don’t want any black marks against you, mate.

“To say the referee would favour one side over the other would probably be a black mark, so I hope you’ve got a better question, mate.”

Jones then turns to the journalist Giles Mole from the Daily Telegraph and says, “You should sit next to Christy (Doran), mate.” Referencing Doran’s previous question, which Jones found interesting.

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