Tongue-in-cheek or a genuine challenge to the NRL? Only Eddie Jones knows for sure. In a recent interview with New Zealand’s The Breakdown, the Wallabies coach hinted that Rugby Australia has more league talent waiting to switch codes, following in Joseph Suaalii’s footsteps.
Jones coyly said, “Yeah, we’ve got about three or four big names ready to sign, mate.” His mischievous grin adding to the speculation. He believes that signing players like Suaalii will bring back the competitive tension and help position rugby as a popular winter sport. Additionally, it serves as inspiration for young aspiring athletes.
Jones explained, “Kids nowadays often attend elite private schools, and by the age of 15, if they show promise in catching and passing, they already have contracts from clubs like Rabbitohs or Roosters in front of them.” This inevitability is hard to stop, given that Rugby Australia competes against 17 clubs with substantial recruitment budgets.
To combat this, Jones aims to bring some of these players back to rugby at a young age and retain them. However, he also sees the value in attracting them back after they have gained experience in rugby league. He believes this is fantastic for the sport.
Jones further discussed his recent decision to bring Andrew Johns, a league legend, into the Wallabies camp. Johns worked with Australia’s playmakers, imparting his expertise ahead of the Rugby Championship opener against the Springboks. Jones also had former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer deliver clear messaging during the camp.
According to Jones, the goal is to restore Australian rugby’s traditional straight-forward style of play. He believes that by having Johns in the camp, they have gained invaluable knowledge and skills. One young player, Carter Gordon, who has only played 15 Super Rugby games, greatly benefited from spending 35 minutes with the maestro.
In conclusion, Eddie Jones is making strategic moves to bring league talent into the Wallabies and revive Australian rugby. His plans include signing big names like Suaalii and getting young players back to rugby after a stint in league. He also values the expertise of legends like Johns and Dwyer in shaping the team’s playstyle. With these calculated steps, Jones hopes to strengthen the competitiveness of Australian rugby.
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Hasibur Rahaman is a passionate sports journalist. He covers everything from cricket to field hockey, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis of sporting events, both within India and on the international stage.