The dogs are barking that George Gregan has
survived to play his 116th test for Australia
while four of last weekend’s Wallabies
– Sailor, Giteau, Chisholm and
Elsom – will be spectators against England on Sunday morning our time. But the big surprise has been the first
sign that the Australian Rugby Union is losing patience with coach Eddie Jones
and his unhappy record. has it best here:

Eddie Jones has been put on
notice by his bosses at the Australian Rugby Union – but the Wallabies coach
has laughed off suggestions he is under any more pressure than normal.

Jones has presided over
Australia’s worst run of results for 36 years and his contract, which runs
through to the next World Cup, will be reviewed when the Wallabies return home
from their tough European assignment.

ARU chief executive Gary
Flowers revealed overnight: “He has a contract until 2007 (but) as with
anyone in coaching and business, people aren’t given guarantees for two and
three years.”

So with that little extra pressure of the
ARU finally sticking a head above the battlements, Jones is sticking with
captain George Gregan despite an unprecedented level of public advice that it’s
time for someone else. An extremely cynical soul might suggest the
Gregan issue works nicely for Jones in that it attracts attention that
otherwise would be squarely centred on the coach.

Wayne Smith in The Australian probably has
the best reading
of the rationale for the likely team to be announced tonight with
Rogers in the 10 jumper, Hugh McMeniman replacing Chisolm in the second
row, John Roe as blindside flanker, Mark Gerrard on one wing with Drew
in the starting side on the other.

In Gregan’s defence, it must be said that
the pack calling for his head are getting a bit loopy with some even suggesting
Matt Giteau should be suddenly slotted in as halfback – a position he’s only
played occasionally and certainly not at this level. The Giteau fan club is certainly voluble – but
with the exception of one test a year ago as five-eighth, all the promise
remains largely that at the test level. He’s no longer all that young and
promising, but a player with enough experience to be expected to consistently
deliver in Test rugby.

Meanwhile The Daily Telegraphhas an
interesting interview from left field, or at least from Auckland, with former
Brumbies coach David Nucifora who is generously sticking up his hand for Eddie
Jones’ job.

Despite winning the Super 12 last year,
Nucifora was sacked after falling out with the Brumbies senior players cabal.
He takes over as the Auckland Blue’s head coach next year after a season as
assistant there. His perspective on
necessary changes to the Wallabies are worth a read.