Former Wallabies captain Stephen Moore doubts Eddie Jones was ever truly committed to Australia’s cause during his disastrous second stint as national coach.
But he hopes Jones has a “good time” coaching Japan after his new role was confirmed on Thursday night, a month after he quit the Wallabies less than a year into a contract not due to end until 2027.
News of Japan’s interest in Jones emerged in September during the Australia’s embarrassing Rugby World Cup campaign when it was reported that the then Wallabies coach had been interviewed for its coaching job.
Despite Jones’ denials, he reportedly had a second interview last week, and subsequently secured the position.
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Moore – who made 129 appearances for the Wallabies in a stellar career that included selection in Australia’s 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cup squads – was adamant that speculation about Jones’ future would have contributed to the Wallabies’ failure to reach the knockout stages of this year’s tournament,
“I know the players are going to be diplomatic because they’re still involved, but there’s no way that they wouldn’t have read and heard that stuff, and it does have an impact,” he said.
“Of course they’re going to try to block it out but the more of those kinds of things that you have, it has an impact on the team.
“For that whole World Cup, there was stuff written every day basically about (the Jones saga), so it’s very hard to avoid that as a player.
Moore said it was time for the Wallabies to “move on” from Jones’ second tenure which lacked certainty from the time he was appointed in January.
“There have got to be questions marks over (how long he was in talks with Japan) but it felt like from the whole time that Eddie wasn’t really fully committed to what he was doing, and there was always whispers about how long he was going to hang around for,” the former Brumbies and Reds hooker said.
“Right from the start there was noise around whether he going to leave after the World Cup. Whether he was talking to Japan or not before the World Cup, it’s all just a moot point now because it’s unfolded the way it has.
“I wish him all the best. I hope he has a good time with Japan and they’re successful. It just didn’t work with the Wallabies for one reason or another, but we all have to move on now.”
When asked on Wednesday if the reports about Jones being linked to Japan had contributed to Australia’s poor World Cup performance, flanker Fraser McReight sidestepped the issue.
“The World Cup’s behind us now, with Eddie and all that chat,” Queenslander McReight said.
“I personally wish him the best, but for us it’s done.
“It’s about bringing the lessons, and all that growth from the World Cup back here to the Reds.”
Although McReight did not delve into the issue, several figures from the rugby world took aim at Jones.
Former England international Andy Goode wrote on X: “Absolutely never spoken to them maaaaate! Nek minnit Eddie Jones gets the Japan job! A man you can never trust!!”
Ben Alexander, who made 72 appearances for the Wallabies, posted: “Can we please stop talking about Eddie Jones”.
Sonny Bill Williams also weighed in on the saga, branding it “a disgrace.”
“My thoughts on this whole saga is that he lied. Obviously he lied to the players, he lied to the public, he lied to the Australian rugby union. What a disgrace.”
The former New Zealand international also took aim at Jones’ character and believed his recent actions do not align with Japan’s traditional values.
“I actually feel sorry for Japan that they believe this guy is going to take them somewhere where his track record shows that he hasn’t been able to do,” Williams said.
“It seems like he’s a little bit out of touch with what’s going on.
“I guess I’m speaking from an ex-player’s point of view. I could never believe in someone that I knew was pretty much full of crap.
“Japanese culture is all built on respect, loyalty, things that he’s shown that he’s not about.”
Source website: www.foxsports.com.au