Michael Pascoe writes:
“Jones losing support of ARU board,”
shouts the headline for the SMH sports section lead story this morning while News Corp papers are running the strongest version of Waratahs coach
Ewen McKenzie sticking up his hand for the job.
The build-up is on to replace Eddie
Jones with every qualification of support from the ARU and the promises of a
no-holds-barred review of the European tour. The problem though is in the tense of
the verbs used in the SMH story – ie “is losing” and “seriously waning in their
support of Jones”.
It all means that Eddie Jones’s fate is not yet
sealed and remains in the dubious hands of an ARU board that has blindly
allowed the Wallabies’ problems to get to this stage.
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It would be an act of treason well
deserving the attentions of Phil Ruddock to suggest a Welsh victory this Sunday
morning might not be an entirely bad thing for Australian rugby. It would be
the undeniable catharsis that would make a cleanout unstoppable.
It has to be acknowledged that Eddie
Jones knows vastly more about rugby union than anyone scribbling about it – but
detailed knowledge and playing the statistics don’t translate into staying at
the front of the ever-evolving game. Almost by definition, playing the
percentages rules out being number one as the game changes.
Perhaps the best insight into what’s
happening with the Wallabies can be had from Stephen Larkham’s World Cup Diary
(as told to Phil Derriman). There is an early chapter in the book that compares
the style of Jones and Rod Macqueen. Larkham is a friend of Jones and thinks he
is a great coach, yet the description leaves no doubt about his inability to
The book also paints a picture of a
management almost obsessed with structure and with something near disdain for
attacking rugby of the French kind. The
idea of support in depth after a line break is presented almost as a fault, a
break down of structure.
It’s time for a change. No, it’s time
for several changes.