Eddie Jones accused of ‘hoodwinking’ Australia after Rugby World Cup disaster

Eddie Jones rants at reporters in ‘worst ever’ press conference

Eddie Jones has been the subject of a scathing assessment from former England head coach Sir Clive Woodward following Australia’s horror Rugby World Cup campaign. The Aussies have been dumped out before the knockout stages for the first time ever, with Jones overseeing a chaotic couple of weeks.

The Wallabies only won two matches in their Pool, with those coming against minnows George and Portugal, with Wales and Fiji heading through to the quarter-finals instead. Jones’ position is under huge threat now ahead of the 2027 World Cup in Australia’s backyard.

Reports emerged early on in the World Cup that the former England head coach had a Zoom interview for the Japan gig, which caused huge drama and grabbed plenty of headlines.

His position as Australia boss was already under scrutiny following a poor run of form in the build-up to the World Cup, and pressure only grew on him after bad results in the group stage. And his future is now in serious doubt. And Woodward has claimed that Rugby Australia chiefs were ‘hoodwinked’ by Jones.

Woodward told the Sydney Morning Herald: “I think when you become an international coach, it is about today, it’s not four years time. It’s a good job if you can get it, going around persuading people it’s not about today.

“You are coaching the team and if you get beaten by 50 points, that’s where you are today. I think it is a cop-out. The moment you talk about a development team, you’re not going to win, so why are you are even in the tournament? You should be competing, so you should be sending the best team you have today. If you start saying you’re developing for the future, it’s the wrong thing to do and it’s the wrong thing for the country.

“When I picked a team, almost without exception I could say to everyone this is the strongest team to play for England this weekend. And the players loved that. There was no development, leave that to schoolboy teams and under-21 teams and the ‘A’ teams. I think that’s your job.

“The problem is administrators come in and they get hoodwinked by all this stuff. They don’t really understand the sport, they come in with a business background and are successful people and they get hoodwinked by people like Eddie Jones, who start talking about the Lions tour and 2027.

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“The moment you do that, you not only lose it with the public, you lose it with the team. Because you can’t talk about a development team. It’s not about that. I don’t blame Eddie for that. If he can get away with it, good on him. But I do blame the guys in charge, because they’ve just been hoodwinked.”

Jones had taken over from Dave Rennie as head coach just nine months prior to the World Cup, but how much longer he remains in charge is very uncertain following a catastrophic adventure in France.

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