Jones: ‘Humbling’ Australia Opportunity Brings Career Full Circle


Barbarian F.C. coach Eddie Jones insists his passion for coaching remains stronger than ever, following a turbulent six weeks which has seen the 62-year-old replaced as England boss by Steve Borthwick, but quickly snapped up by Australia ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Jones – who will return to Twickenham for the first time on Sunday 28 May, looking to win the Killik Cup when he leads the Barbarians against Steve Hansen’s World XV side – took charge of the Wallabies on Sunday evening.

There has been plenty of water under the bridge since Jones was last head coach of Australia, having coached South Africa, Japan, and England (as well as club sides Queensland Reds and Suntory Sungoliath) in the 18 years since 2005 when he was dismissed by the Wallabies.

But while Jones has no intention of slowing down yet, with a five-year deal now in place with Rugby Australia until 2027 which includes two World Cup campaigns and a home British & Irish Lions tour, he admits he has been humbled by the opportunity to bring his career full circle.

“In coaching, there isn’t a pathway,” he said. “You just try and do as good a job as you can, and you keep doing the job until someone tells you that you can’t do it anymore.

“People either offer you a job, or you go looking for a job, and I was lucky enough to be offered this one – but it does potentially close a circle on a coaching career.

“It’s been 18 years since I’ve coached Australia and, in that time, I’ve coached South Africa, Japan and England. I’ve won a World Cup final, lost a World Cup final, and now I get a chance to coach my own country so it’s quite humbling.

“I probably thought that England was going to be my last full-time coaching role, but I’m enjoying it so much still.

“As long as I’m healthy, fit, energetic and committed, then there’s no reason why you should stop, is there? I love the game.

“I can’t wait to coach the Barbarians again this year – I had that commitment written into my new contract. It’ll be a great challenge.”

Jones’ appointment opens up the possibility of a mouth-watering clash against former employers England in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals later this year.

He was at the helm for the Final between the two countries back in 2003, with his Australia side beaten on home soil by a last-minute drop-goal from England’s Jonny Wilkinson.

He said: “[The quarter-final] is something I’ve thought about. It’ll be another game, but another game with a bit of difference – just like coaching England against Australia, or England against Japan.

“They all mean a bit because you’ve had experience with the people in those teams, so there’s always a bit more emotion to it, but nothing over the top.”