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Eddie Jones’ Wallabies betrayal is complete. Jones was confirmed as the Brave Blossoms coach after two interviews and a board ratification on Wednesday night and 24 hours later addressed a packed media conference as head coach of Japan, sitting alongside his friend of almost 30 years – Japan Rugby Football Union chief Masato Tsuchida.

“I’m very honored and privileged to be announced today,” Jones said in an opening statement. “To be part of the push for Japan, the top four in the world is an exciting opportunity. I want to honour the past with a Japanese team that has real identity and has a point of difference.” Wherever Eddie goes he is box office and his announcement press conference, at Tokyo’s Japan Sport Olympic Square was attended by more than 100 reporters and camera operators.

When Jones returned to Australia after being dumped by England he spoke emotionally about his pride in representing Australia. The fall from grace has been rapid and brutal and Sonny Bill Williams summed up the feeling of many in Australian rugby today when he said: “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.”

Jones is likely to get an easier ride in Japan which remains a second tier nation. His 2-7 record in his abominable Australia return saw Australia ninth in the world rankings. The results were bad enough, but the revelation on the eve of the Wales debacle at the World Cup that he had already interviewed for the Japan job – which he denied upwards of 14 times – meant many Australian rugby fans will always consider him a traitor who had betrayed the young players he put his faith in.

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The shockwaves of Jones failed comeback will resonate in Australian rugby for some time. Players have spoken of their confusion at his approach. For most there will be a chance of recovery – but others, like Hamish McLennan, have been torched by standing too close to him. Veteran Nic White, one of those sidelined by Jones at the World Cup could see it unfolding. He also suggested that Jones, 63, might have lost the edge that made him a success in the past.

“I think Taniela [Tupou] said it as well, when you’re right in, you fully believe it because Eddie Jones is telling you, a guy who’s had so much success in World Cups. We believed in it,” White told The Roar.

“But there was an element that you knew it was a bit of an experiment because we were doing, and he was saying, something that no one else had done in the way we were trying to play.

“You kind of knew that if the rest of the world was doing it a different way, maybe there was a fair element of risk in what we were trying to do.

“There were glimpses of it [working] but after playing it a fair few times, we started to figure out it was not quite working. We were in the process of fixing it, but it was all too little, too late.”

By admin