Rugby Australia boss Marinos expects to butt heads with Eddie Jones
SPOTLIGHT: Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos says Eddie Jones will have carte blanche at the selection table but still expects to butt heads with the new Wallabies coach.
Marinos will not intervene as Jones sifts through the talent pool to come up with a 33-man squad that can achieve Rugby World Cup glory in France in October.
But that does not mean Jones will have completely free rein to do as he pleases.
“We’ve got to operate within the confines of the business and the frameworks,” Marinos told reporters in Sydney ahead of Friday’s Super Rugby Pacific opener between the Waratahs and Brumbies.
“But in terms of how he wants to play the game and populate his team, and how they want to present themselves, absolutely.
“That’s what every coach needs to have. They’ve got to build their own identity and their culture and we’re here ready to support to make sure he can achieve those things.”
Ready to support Jones, he means, almost from arm’s length.
While his sacked predecessor – who used 69 players during his three-year, 34-Test tenure – was based on the Gold Coast, Jones will be stationed at RA headquarters at Moore Park in Sydney.
Marinos did not blame distance on Dave Rennie only achieving a 38 percent winning rate with the Wallabies but does believe having the coach nearby is better.
“I don’t think it’s a completely inhibiting factor,” Marinos said.
“We had good communication with Dave, Webbie [team manager Chris Webb] was always here so we knew exactly what was going on with the Wallabies.
“But just the benefit of being able to have those offside, round-the-water-cooler chats, it does have a benefit and you can keep on top of things a lot better.”
Inevitably, though, Marinos expects the CEO and national coach to clash.
“It’s healthy when you do because you’ve got to have tension in a high-performance environment,” he said.
“Otherwise there’s a degree of apathy that comes in.
“I don’t think that we’re going to be actively looking to have confrontation, but there will certainly come times – I’m sure as there is with every coach – where there’s a difference of opinion in terms of what they want and what the business can deliver.”
One robust discussion sure to come will be around the cap of three overseas-based players being available for Wallabies selection as Jones fights to get the World Cup team he wants – and which the RA chief executive says he will not interfere with.
“We’ve got an open book,” Jones told AAP on Thursday.
“What everyone agrees is that we want our strongest team to take to the World Cup.
“We’ll have a chat about who we need to look at, who’s overseas at the moment, and I’m sure a sensible decision will be come by.
“It won’t be my way, it’ll be making sure we get to pick the best team.
“Supporters want to see it, players want to play with the best, coaches and admin want to win.
“We need to find a way to make it work.”