England coach Eddie Jones reflects on the highs and lows of a career that has taken him around the world
Eddie Jones on his life in pictures
England coach Eddie Jones goes through the photo album of his career, which has taken him around the world, and provides his memories of both the ups and downs over the past few decades.
1984 – Club class
“We had a pretty useful team (Randwick won the Premiership in 1984). We had the three Ellas at their peak. Matt and Brad Burke, Lloyd Walker… I think about 12 of the team were Wallabies, so we had pretty good rugby players.
“I see them every now and then, but it’s got harder since I’ve been away from Australia. I’m good mates with Glen Ella and he’s done a few tours with us.”
1989 – Lions’ share
“I think this was in Dubbo. NSW B against the Lions in 1989 and we got beaten by a horrific score, 50 points (it wasn’t quite that bad – it was 39-19).
“I remember at the end of the game, with the number of injuries we had, I had to move back to openside flanker and I was marking Andy Robinson. He had a height advantage over me.
“That was a tough old game but a great experience.”
2001 – A league of his own
“That’s me with Peter Ryan, who came over from rugby league and was the most important catalyst for changing the Brumbies from a good team to a great team (they won the 2001 Super 12 title with Jones as coach).
“He was a back-row and he toughened up training for the forwards – he just brought that rugby league toughness.
“The gear’s not changed much!”
2001 – Bled and beers
“This was one of John Eales’s last games (beating New Zealand 23-15 in Dunedin). It was obviously a big win – the Bledisloe Cup was massive in those days – and we had a drink afterwards. I had a good team, I was lucky. One thing to remember as a national coach is you don’t develop players, but I had a good group of players.”
2003 – Final hurdle
“I remember this one (RWC 2003 final loss to England). I was very proud of the team. We got beaten by England 25-14 in June and they were by far a better team than us. We’d worked really hard and to take them to 100 minutes, to make it a great game of rugby, was a great achievement.
“This other photo is from the next day. There’s Bill Young, one of our props, and his dad, who owned the pub. I won’t tell you everything that happened; it was crazy! We had the whole pub and drank the whole day. Then the next night we went to The Lodge and stayed up talking to the Prime Minister, John Howard, and his wife.”
2007 – Silver to gold
“Here I’m with Jake White before the World Cup final. The Springboks wouldn’t let me wear the suit as I wasn’t South African. They gave me some other kit, but I wore the tracksuit instead.
“I remember saying to Jake, ‘Can you turn a silver medal into gold?’ And he said, ‘Yep, I can’, so I decided to help him.”
2008 – Sarries sojourn
“Steve Borthwick was the first signing we made and Andy Farrell was in his third year with Saracens. He was an outstanding player and has turned into an outstanding coach. Steve never got enough credit for his part in Saracens’ revival. He brought captaincy to the team when in transition.”
2012 – Confidence boost
“This was with Suntory. I went back in 2009 and they hadn’t won a trophy for eight years. Again I had good players, a good team, and this is winning the Japan Championship in 2012. And that’s a bit of a tradition in Japan (the coach getting lifted).
“I’d been through a reasonably difficult period and I got a lot of confidence back there.”
2015 – Tears of joy
“Karne Hesketh had only come on a minute before and a Japanese winger probably wouldn’t have scored that try, but we had a heavier guy carrying the ball (and Japan beat South Africa 34-32). I remember walking down to the pitch and all the Japanese supporters were crying. It’s one of those things I didn’t understand, that when the Japanese are happy they cry. It meant so much to so many people.
“In the changing room we had a sign listing three things, ‘Japan Way 2015’ – fast start, strong finish and I can’t remember the third!
“We also came up with a symbol that had samurai eyes and a ninja body – always looking to kill the opposition and moving quickly.”
2016 – An eye-opener
“We had a good team and a team that worked hard (England won a first Grand Slam since 2003 by beating France 31-21 in Paris).
“I didn’t realise how big a Grand Slam was, how important it was to the country and how little England had won until this. It’s amazing. I’ve 100% got a better understanding of it now and how hard it is, particularly when you’re England and everyone is coming at you.”
2016 – Good sports
“He’s a great gentleman, Roy Hodgson, and giving with his time.
“It’s good to keep learning (from different coaches). Pep Guardiola has such a strong philosophy and backs it. He went through a bit of pain in his first season with Manchester City, everyone saying you couldn’t play like that and win the league, and now everyone is saying you should play like that!”
2016 – Right off the bat
“If I wasn’t coaching rugby I’d love to coach cricket. I love five-day Test matches. They’re a bit like a rugby Test match. You play a five-day Test and you don’t have to win every session, it comes down to key moments.”
2017 – An Aussie icon
“A legend. Growing up, Rod Laver was an iconic sportsman in Australia and I got to meet him.
“Wimbledon is one of the most incredible sporting events I’ve been to. That and the Tour de France. The Tour is a simple event and has such a community base.
“I’m with my wife, Hiroko, here. She doesn’t get too involved in rugby, doesn’t get affected by it, so we can just relax at home.”
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Rugby World magazine.
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