It has been revealed that under-fire Wallabies coach Eddie Jones was secretly interviewed by Japanese rugby officials just days before the start of the Rugby World Cup in France.
A report in The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday claimed that the Wallabies coach took part in a Zoom interview with officials from Japan, as the nation looks to replace Jamie Joseph who will be stepping down as Japan’s coach after the tournament.
Jones is reported to have dialed in from Paris for the interview on August 25, just two days before the Wallabies’ warm-up match with France that they lost 41-17.
Jones is contracted with the Wallabies through to 2027, and Rugby Australia boss Phil Waugh told the Herald that there’s nothing to the reports.
Watch every Test match and World Cup game, ad-free, live and on demand on the Home of Rugby, Stan Sport.
Eddie Jones reportedly did a secret zoom meeting interview with Japanese rugby officials
Jones is said to have dialed in from Paris for the job interview on August 25
‘I take people at their word and Eddie’s said there’s nothing in it,’ Waugh said.
‘So, as far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of the story and everyone’s focus is on this weekend’s crucial game against Wales.’
Jones has strong links with Japan, having coached the nation from 2012 to 2015 and being married to a Japanese woman.
Reports earlier in the month claimed Jones was negotiating with Japanese Rugby officials, which Jones insisted were just ‘bulls**t and gossip’.
The Wallabies coach came out firing at a press conference ahead of his team’s must-win World Cup clash with Wales on Monday.
The man has never been afraid to go head-to-head with the press. ‘You get more people when they smell blood,’ he quipped, surveying a packed first-floor room.
‘We’ve got 10 times more people here than we normally do for an Australian press conference because people smell blood. That makes it even more exciting.’
Jones then proceeded to fire off a series of shots his cricketing idol Greg Chappell would have been proud of, insisting he was entirely to blame for his team’s dicey current predicament.
The Wallabies have a must-win World Cup clash with Wales on Monday morning
Jones has copped heavy criticism since Australia’s 22-15 defeat to Fiji
‘I’ve let Australian rugby down. I haven’t done the job I was brought in to do,’ said Jones, whose team is on the verge of an early World Cup exit after just one win in seven games under his guidance.
‘I was brought in to turn it around. I feel that responsibility. I apologise for the results. I can get down on my knees and do the Japanese thing (apologise by lowering yourself to the floor) if you want me to? I can’t apologise more guys. I’m really sorry we haven’t had better results.’
Jones is used to criticism. But the vitriol he has taken in the last week has been especially strong in the wake of Australia’s 22-15 defeat by Fiji.
Wales and Warren Gatland are looking to heap on more pain.
‘I don’t try to make myself out as a saint,’ Jones continued. ‘I’ve been coaching for 30 years. I know what’s coming. When you coach, you make a choice to put yourself in these positions. I could be teaching.
‘I could have a nice life where the wife puts the packed lunch in the bag every morning, I put a shirt and tie on, know I’m going to teach six periods, come home, wash the dog, clean the car, watch Channel 7 or ABC news and then get the packed lunch ready for the next day.
‘I could have done that. But I made a choice to coach. I love winning. I don’t know if it’s a drug, but that’s the rush you get from coaching.’
The Wallabies take on Wales in a must-win clash at 5am (AEST) on September 25.