Another job opportunity for Eddie Jones
INTERVIEW: There will always be a space for Eddie Jones in the Australia set-up, Wallabies legend Phil Kearns admitted.
In an interview with Rugbypass, Kearns revealed the reasons why he would love England boss Jones to have some role to play for Australia when they host the 2027 World Cup.
The 54-year-old, a twice winner of the tournament as a Wallabies hooker in 1991 and 1999, was naturally elated and before he headed off into the Irish evening for a celebration with other members of the travelling Australian entourage, he took some time out to shoot the breeze with RugbyPass on numerous topics – including why he feels Jones would have so much to offer back home.
This is just Kearns thinking out loud, mind, as he insisted he hadn’t spoken to Jones about what he might have up his sleeve. The biggest stumbling block, naturally, is that the Wallabies’ 2003 World Cup final coach currently has as a massive job on his plate – leading England at the 2023 finals in France.
But after that, who knows? One thing certain, though, is the level of enthusiasm that Kearns has for his fellow former hooker who will be 67 by the time the finals are hosted by Australia. “No, not at the moment,” said Kearns when asked by RugbyPass if he had directly been in recent contact with Jones.
“Eddie has got a job until next year.
” However, Eddie has got an amazing coaching brain and the motivation for Eddie all the way along is to improve the individual performance of a player and then that rolls into your team. That is a great motivation to have.
“Everyone wants to come out the other side of something having improved. No one wants to go backwards and that is a great driver from Eddie. He has done an amazing job with England, he did a great job with Australia over the years and he is a person who has also grown and I think it would be great. His heart is still with Australia and we would love to have him.
“This isn’t just me but other people in Australia have mentioned the same thing. He does have a reputation as being hard but he has also got a reputation of being a great coach.”
Kearns wouldn’t stop there either when it comes to re-connecting high profile figures from the past with Wallabies rugby. Aside from Jones, the names of the estranged Ewen McKenzie and the elderly Bob Dywer also came in for mention in the Dublin Convention Centre, the scene of Australia’s biggest rugby win for quite some time.
“There have been a few people in Australian rugby who have been disenchanted with what happened. You only have to look at Ewen McKenzie, who was an amazing coach, and he has just been lost to the game. Hopefully, something like the World Cup will bring him back involved in some way and there are others we can also utilise. I know Bob Dwyer is getting on in years but he hasn’t lost his rugby brain so to re-engage with people like that is great for Australian rugby.”
Proudly decked out in a green and gold scarf, Kearns had a glint in his eye when asked how he would be celebrating Australia’s successful 2027 bid in a city he came to know very well during the finals of 1991 and 1999 as his Wallabies played a number of matches in Ireland, including putting one over Sean Fitzpatrick’s All Blacks in a Lansdowne Road semi-final 31 years ago. “I might just have a wee pint of Guinness. Just the one,” he quipped with a chuckle.
More seriously, though, he would be raising a glass to better times ahead following a deluge of negativity that had sucked Australian rugby into a governance abyss. So fed up was Kearns that he was one of eleven ex-Wallabies captains who wrote a letter to Rugby Australia outlining concerns over how the game was being administered. Change has since happened at the top and his hope now is that the winning 2027 RWC bid will accelerate even more rapid progress.
“There has been too much negativity and now it has got to stop. The positive stuff we have had out of Australia the last couple of hours since the announcement has been incredible. The Prime Minister is tweeting, the Harbour Bridge has been lit up green and gold, it has just been incredible. I have had a whole bunch of texts from people I haven’t heard from for years and years and that is re-engagement with the game former teammates, guys I went to school with, everyone. It has just been incredible.”
By Liam Heagney, Rugbypass