Bullish Eddie Jones claims the Wallabies can damage New Zealand’s economy and ‘sink the whole country’ by beating the All Blacks in Bledisloe Cup clash
Eddie Jones has fired the opening salvo in the verbal war ahead of the Bledisloe Cup opener, claiming he relishes the opportunity of beating the All Blacks as the ‘whole country sinks’.
The Wallabies take on the All Blacks at the MCG on Saturday looking to regain trans-Tasman bragging rights for the first time in 21 years.
And Jones has wasted no time in putting pressure on New Zealand, insisting they shouldered the expectations of an entire country.
‘There’s nothing better than winning against New Zealand because you’re feeling the country sinking,’ Jones said on Friday.
‘It’s not just rugby that sinks, the country sinks. The whole economy goes down.
Eddie Jones wants to beat New Zealand at the MCG to ‘sink the whole country’
All Blacks coach Ian Foster was unperturbed by Jones’ bullish claims
‘The prime minister is there with his fingers crossed hoping the All Blacks win because he knows the economy will drop if they lose.
‘So we can have that effect and at the some time Australian kids want to play rugby again. At the moment too many want to play AFL.’
WALLABIES VS ALL BLACKS TEAMS
Wallabies: 15-Andrew Kellaway, 14-Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13-Jordan Petaia, 12-Samu Kerevi, 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-Carter Gordon, 9-Tate McDermott, 8-Rob Valetini, 7-Tom Hooper, 6-Jed Holloway, 5-Will Skelton, 4-Nick Frost, 3-Allan Alaalatoa, 2-David Porecki, 1-Angus Bell
Replacements: 16-Jordan Uelese, 17-James Slipper, 18-Taniela Tupou, 19-Richie Arnold, 20-Rob Leota, 21-Nic White, 22-Quade Cooper, 23-Izaia Perese.
All Blacks: 15-Beauden Barrett, 14-Will Jordan, 13-Rieko Ioane, 12-Jordie Barrett, 11-Mark Telea, 10-Richie Mo’unga, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Ardie Savea, 7-Dalton Papali’i, 6-Shannon Frizell, 5-Scott Barrett, 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Ethan de Groot
Replacements: 16-Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17-Ofa Tuungafasi, 18-Nepo Laulala, 19-Sam Whitelock, 20-Luke Jacobson, 21-Cam Roigard, 22-Anton Lienert-Brown, 23-Caleb Clarke.
Predictably, All Blacks coach Ian Foster met the comments with a straight bat.
‘You might want to mention that to [Prime Minister Chris] Hipkins and [opposition leader Christopher] Luxon and they can deal with that comment,’ he said.
‘I just want to deal with the game.’
Asked whether he was troubled by Jones’ barbs, Foster replied: ‘I love it. He is who he is. He prepares his team his way, and we prepare our team our way.’
Jones was in charge of the Wallabies when they last won the Bledisloe Cup in 2002 but his second spell at the helm has got off to a disappointing start.
Australia were thrashed 43-12 by South Africa in Pretoria earlier this month and then conceded a last minute try to lose 34-31 at home to Argentina a week later.
New Zealand, meanwhile, beat the Pumas 41-12 in Argentina and saw off the Springboks 35-20 at home.
The Wallabies’ recent record against the All Blacks doesn’t bode well for their chances either, as Australia have lost each of their last five meetings against New Zealand.
Jones has rung the changes for the first Bledisloe Cup clash, with rookie five-eighth Carter Gordon set to make his first Test start.
The 22-year-old will partner Tate McDermott in a new halves pairing, with Quade Cooper and Nic White on the bench, while Andrew Kellaway will start at fullback.
Jones also named Jordan Petaia at outside centre and Tom Hooper in the uncustomary position of openside flanker, with co-captain Michael Hooper still sidelined because of a calf injury.
The Wallabies have lost both of their first two Tests of Jones’ second spell in charge
The All Blacks have retained the Bledisloe Cup for the past 21 years
Prop Allan Alaalatoa will lead the side with the other co-captain James Slipper starting in the reserves.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever picked a younger Test team, I think we’ve got 290 caps in the starting 15,’ Jones said.
‘The All Blacks I’d say would have close to 1000 caps so we’ve got a young team out there ready to take them on with not much past history, just ready to play.’
The All Blacks, meanwhile, will be without captain Sam Cane, who has suffered a neck injury and will be replaced by Dalton Papali’i.