Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has been revealed as having taken secret job interviews with rival nations during the middle of Australia’s Rugby World Cup preparations.
Just days before the Wallabies began their campaign in France, the Sydney Morning Herald reports Jones took part in a Zoom interview with Japanese rugby officials on August 25, dialling in from Paris two days ahead of Australia’s eventual 41-17 demolition by France.
The Herald also reports that Jones was open to an in-person follow-up interview with a Japanese delegation in France.
Jones has a 1-6 record since returning to the helm of the national side, the sole win coming against 13th-ranked Georgia to kickstart the Wallabies’ World Cup group stage.
Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh told the Sydney Morning Herald that Jones claimed there was “nothing in” the reports, which have also been replicated in Japanese media.
“I take people at their word and Eddie’s said there’s nothing in it,” Waugh said.
“So, as far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of the story and everyone’s focus is on this weekend’s crucial game against Wales.”
Jones has previously dismissed conjecture from Japanese media on the matter as “bullshit and gossip”.
While Jones is contracted on a five-year deal that runs through to the home 2027 World Cup, he has repeatedly floated the idea of him not seeing out the term of his contract, whether that be voluntarily or otherwise.
“I’m only coaching ’til this World Cup,” Jones told a UK podcast earlier this year.
“I’ve signed [until the end of 2027], but as I’ve made the mistake before, I’ve stayed too long. So, we win the World Cup, it will be time to go. If we lose the World Cup, it will be time to go.”
Jones has close ties to Japan, having previously coached the country from 2012 to 2015, leading them to an upset win over South Africa in the 2015 World Cup.
He is married to a Japanese woman, and reportedly has a close relationship with Japan Rugby Football Union president Masato Tsuchida.
He has led multiple nations to the World Cup final – first with Australia in 2003, and then with England in 2019, on top of being an advisor with South Africa when the Springboks won the 2007 tournament.
The Wallabies face Wales in a must-win clash at 5am on September 25.
More to come.