'A pivotal game': Jones already sets sights on Boks
SPOTLIGHT: Eddie Jones believes the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship opener against the Springboks in July will be a “pivotal game” in their build-up to the World Cup in France this year.
On Monday, Rugby Australia dropped a bombshell when they announced the sacking of Dave Rennie and the appointment of Jones for the Wallabies head coach role.
The 62-year-old has a lot of work to do to turn the Wallabies into contenders for the World Cup and he has set his sights on the current world champions.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Jones opened up on his targets to get the ball rolling.
“I’m speaking like a coach here, the only thing I’m really thinking about is the next World Cup. Even the Rugby Championship, we’ve got South Africa away [in July]. That’s always a pivotal game to get that right,” said Jones.
“We’ve got five games leading into the World Cup. We want to win the World Cup. Dave’s left the team in a good position to win the World Cup. I think they showed a lot of courage on the last tour to Europe and now we’ve got to build on that.”
Jones believes South Africa’s style of play will be a big challenge to overcome, but he also knows a win against them will be a major confidence booster ahead of the World Cup.
“The biggest thing is to make sure we work out what are the areas that are most important to improving. Everyone will have an opinion on Australian rugby or the Wallabies and there will probably be 500 things,” he explained.
“It’s about picking out the one, two or three things that will make the biggest difference. It’s about getting alignment on that with players and the coaching staff and then we dive into those areas with the utmost relentlessness and absolute pursuit of excellence.
“If we get that right, the team will continue to improve and grow and we’ll start the Rugby Championship off on a good note against South Africa.
“What a good way to start off. South Africa is a side that we know are going to play set-piece to set-piece and kick the ball in the air. It’s almost the opposite of how an Australian team wants to play. We’ll need to be at our best to beat them.”
Source: Sydney Morning Herald