Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones says he was barely approached by Rugby Australia to return to Australia and replace outgoing coach Michael Cheika.
“There was no formal discussion,” he told 7.30.
“There was a brief text exchange with no actual in-depth discussion about whether I was interested in coaching Australia.
“I think it was a convenient conversation for the ARU [Rugby Australia] to have, to be honest.
“I don’t think they were really interested in bringing me back as the Australian coach.”
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle had previously said there had been discussions with Jones, but that his contract with England had ruled him out.
Wallabies coach doesn’t have to be Australian
Jones guided England to the Rugby World Cup final in Japan, which they lost to the Springboks.
But along the way, they had beaten the powerful All Blacks in the semi finals and the Wallabies in the quarter finals.
Wallabies coach Cheika quit days later.
After much speculation that Jones would be the replacement, Rugby Australia appointed New Zealander David Rennie.
“Dave Rennie will do a good job, he’s a very good coach'” Jones said.
“He’s got a good way with people, so I think he’ll bring the team together.”
Cheika had said that his successor should be an Australian, but Jones said it doesn’t really matter.
“Ideally, Australia would like to have an Australian [coach], but if the best candidate is a Kiwi, go with the Kiwi,” he said.
“What we’re seeing is the globalisation of sport, which happens in nearly every endeavour of life.
“If you look at most countries around the world, apart from probably New Zealand and France, they’ve got non-native coaches. And that’s how sport’s going.”
Reconsider Giteau’s law, says Jones
The ARU changed its rule regarding overseas-based players to allow Matt Giteau (centre) to play for the Wallabies. (AAP Image: Dan Peled)
The globalisation applies equally to players.
The world champion Springbok side includes numerous players who no longer played in South Africa.
The ARU has implemented what is known as Giteau’s law — named for Matt Giteau — an exemption that allowed overseas based Australian players to be picked for the Wallabies if they had already accumulated 60 Test caps.
“I think maybe they need to reconsider that Giteau’s law,” Jones said.
“Players move around a lot more now and maybe the number of caps needs to be reduced.
“Maybe the number should be 40 caps in the future, which allows more flexibility.”
With the Super Rugby competition “not as vibrant as it would like to be”, Jones thinks players will be attracted to strong, cashed-up competitions in England, France and even Japan.
“Players will move because they are professional players now,” he said.
‘Invest in younger players, invest in talent identification’
Eddie Jones says more money needs to be invested in grassroots rugby and identifying young talent. (JB Photography)
It has been a lean decade for Australian rugby, both internationally and in the Super Rugby competition.
There has been some criticism of the amount of money that has been spent in the past on luring star players away from rugby league.
Jones does not have a problem with that but does think more should be spent on grassroots rugby.
“At the bottom end, there just needs to be more investment in the development of the young players,” he said.
“Particularly, there needs to be investment in community rugby and investment in bringing the best talent through.
“Make sure you invest in younger players, invest in talent identification, which is probably something ARU hasn’t done well.”