Eddie Jones usually blames his players
for losing test matches, but after yesterday morning’s record-equalling loss to
it seems it’s all the Australian Rugby Union’s fault, according to the coach.
As everyone who’s ever looked at a
rugby ball now knows, Australia doesn’t has a scrum that can compete with the
top four rugby nations. We find out over the next two weekends whether we even
have a top-six scrum and along the way count our blessings that we’re not
And that allowed England to win, making
it seven test losses in a row and taking Eddie Jones’s away record against first
class competition to just two wins out of either 19 or 20 games – the numbers
are getting too big and I’m losing count.
Eddie is much bigger on statistics than I am, so I suppose he’s noticed
that a 10% success rate isn’t very promising and that the 2007 World
Cup is being held in France.
So having been the Wallabies coach for
more than four years now, was the failure to keep up with the best in another
facet of the game perhaps the coach’s responsibility? No, it was the ARU’s
fault for not setting up a scrum school Eddie recommended in 2003, as the SMH
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Eddie also wants to send promising
young Australian props to northern hemisphere clubs to learn how it’s done – a
suggestion destroyed in an instant by Wayne Smith in The Australian
as something that simply can’t work. In the best piece written in the
Australian press about the problems, Smith also points out a few other
uncomfortable facts, such as Eddie’s HR inabilities losing the services of
Australia’s best scrum coach, Andrew Blades, and that only referee Andrew
Watson’s desire to give the world a great spectacle prevented the 2003 World
Cup Final looking like yesterday’s Test.
Yes, the ARU does need to develop tight
five skills and a scrum school isn’t a bad idea at all – but it has been well
within the powers of the Wallabies coach to hold his own scrum school with the
best ten or so tight forwards in the country during all the time they spend at
It hasn’t happened and it’s apparently
not capable of happening under this coach.
Eddie Jones bravely told the media
conference after the match that something good would come out of the loss.
I think I know what that is: The ARU
has to belatedly face reality and hand coaching responsibility for the
Wallabies to Ewen McKenzie and Andrew Blades. As a player from another
code is known to say, you know it makes sense. Even George Gregan’s
drawn-out departure scene can’t overshadow that any longer.
As far as the actual game went, perhaps
the best ball-by-ball description for those who missed the telecast was on
Planet Rugby (albeit with an English perspective). They did miss two things though – giving
George Smith the credit he deserved in helping drive Drew Mitchell over for his
try and that English fullback Josh Lewsey should have been marched along with
Lewis Moody for illegally preventing an earlier Australian try.
Finally, a question: Was Brendan Cannon
talking to Matt Dunning as that final ugly contested scrum collapsed and before
Dunning reached up and grabbed his neck? And if so, what was he saying?