Moore lays blame for Wallaby woes at feet of Rugby Australia
NEWS: Straight-shooting former Australia Test captain Stephen Moore says Eddie Jones must come clean on the Japan job and the Wallabies coach should fall on his sword if he has been interviewed.
In France watching the World Cup, the 129-Test legend has been dismayed by the Wallabies’ dire performance under Jones, with their record loss to Wales following Fiji an intolerable low for the two-time champion team.
Moore played at three World Cups, captaining the Wallabies to a loss to New Zealand in the 2015 final – a far cry from the current tournament with Australia set to miss the quarter-finals for the first time.
Moore told AAP that Jones’s link to Japan was the latest event in some “alarming behaviour” shown by the 63-year-old, who replaced Dave Rennie in January.
“I was excited when Eddie came in as he’s been a good coach for a long time, but I didn’t expect it to go this poorly,” 40-year-old Moore said.
“Certainly some of the decisions that have been made and some of the behaviour has been a little bit alarming and very different to the type of Eddie that I would have worked with very early in my career and that’s been really disappointing.”
Moore said Jones’s position was untenable if he had been looking to join Japan less than a year into his five-year Australian contract.
“If that’s accurate, I just can’t see how we can continue with that,” Moore said.
“Japan are looking for a coach and they’re in the process of recruiting a coach so Eddie is either going for it or he’s not.
“Whatever his involvement is, we need to hear that and if it’s accurate that he’s been engaging with Japan … I can’t see how he can continue to coach Australia.
“As a player, I would find that very difficult.”
Putting his hand up to help, Moore said the problem went beyond Jones, laying the blame at Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan and his board with seemingly reactionary decisions and empty rhetoric.
He used the rapid appointment of Jones without the knowledge of the then CEO and the multi-million dollar deal for untested youngster Joseph Aukuso-Suaalii as examples.
“The coach piece is one part but the big picture has lacked any kind of checks and balances or strategy throughout over the last three or four years,” said Moore, a CEO of an insurance brokerage in Brisbane
“There seems to be a lot of captains picks in many different areas, there doesn’t seem to be any real governance around some of this stuff … there’s a lot of things going on that are very unconventional.
“It’s the member unions’ role to make sure that we have the appropriate governance in place to ensure we’re going in the right direction and there’s consensus around decisions being made.”
Moore wanted to see solid strategy to solve the game’s woes, whether that involved centralisation or cutting Super Rugby teams, and a renewed focus on grass roots.
“For some time there’s been lack of a strategy or a long-term vision for the game at every different level; at the Wallabies, at the grassroots, club rugby, Super Rugby, the third tier, I can’t put my finger on any type of direction we have for that stuff.
“We need to build a governance model, a high-performance model, a grassroots system that is going to be the best in the world – that’s what we should be aiming for and at the moment, we’re kidding ourselves if we think what we’re doing is going to get us there.”