Eddie Jones has revealed why he lashed out at a series of reporters in sensational scenes at Sydney Airport earlier this month as the Wallabies prepared to fly to France for the World Cup.
Australia’s coach is famed for his mind games – and when quizzed on the ‘worst press conference ever’ the 63-year-old admitted it was a deliberate attempt to take the heat off his under-pressure squad.
‘It was a bit of fun, I wanted to protect the team,’ Jones said on Thursday.
‘We’ve got a young group of players and we want them to feel like there’s people behind them.
‘I never have any regrets. I try to just be as honest as I can, be honest with my feelings and emotions, and that’s how I felt at that time.’
Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has revealed why he lashed out at a series of reporters at Sydney Airport on August 18 as the Wallabies prepared to fly to France for the World Cup
Jones is confident the Wallabies are heading in the right direction ahead of the World Cup – despite losing their past five Tests (pictured, Australia in action against France on August 27)
Jones also found plenty of positives in the last start 41-17 defeat to France, adamant his team ‘had their moments’ against the World Cup hosts.
‘It’s all about consistency, about doing the simple things well,’ he told 2GB Radio.
‘At the moment we don’t have the capacity to do that, but we are slowly building.
‘We’ve just got to be more consistent and that comes from a bit of mental toughness, it comes from the team fighting together in difficult situations and it comes from our capacity to repeat skill under pressure.
‘Training is our avenue to improve and I can tell you we’re training at the absolute optimum we can, and we’ll get to the World Cup and we will be in great condition.’
In extraordinary scenes on August 18, Jones delivered a fiery outburst to a group of journalists at Sydney Airport, claiming he ‘could not believe the level of negativity’ from the media towards his side ahead of the World Cup.
His explosive rant followed a key member of his staff, Brad Davis, resigning for personal reason hours before the Wallabies were set to depart for France.
Coming into the tournament, Jones’ side are winless in their last five outings, with the 63-year-old yet to secure a victory since taking over from Dave Rennie in January.
Jones believes the Wallabies ‘had their moments’ against the French, but didn’t execute
Australia have lost all five of their Test matches this season, with Jones having failed to pick up a win since taking charge in his second stint as national coach
Jones, who departed his role as England head coach in December, was fielding questions about his squad selections on the upcoming tournament.
He raised eyebrows over choosing to omit Quade Cooper and Michael Hooper from his World Cup squad, two of Australia’s most talented and experienced players of the last ten years.
‘I can’t believe the level of negativity here, boys,’ Jones said to the assembled journalists.
‘I know what’s wrong with Australian rugby, and you blokes are part of the problem because you’re so bloody negative about everything.
‘We’re going off to a World Cup you don’t think we can win. You think the selection process is bad because the players complain, so I apologise for that. We’ll go out there and do our best boys. So if you haven’t got anything positive to say, don’t ask.’
Jones, who was wearing an Akubra hat just like his cinema namesake Indiana Jones, fired off at the media saying: ‘Thanks for the worst press conference I’ve ever had in world rugby. Well done – the worst I’ve ever seen.’
He was notably asked by one journalist what strengths he sees in his side, responding sarcastically: ‘Nothing, mate. We’re terrible.
‘I love this negativity – it’s fantastic. I love it, love it – keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going.’
In two outings against New Zealand, the Wallabies suffered a 38-7 thumping at the MCG before heading to Dunedin where they looked much better but were narrowly beaten 23-20 by an under-strength All Blacks side
Jones lost his cool August 18 as journalists asked him some simple questions at Sydney Airport
Jones has now admitted he blew up at the reporters to take attention away from his struggling side with the World Cup looming
Eyebrows have been raised over Jones’ decision to omit fly-half Quade Cooper (middle) from the squad for the tournament in France
When questioned on the rumours that Cooper had been ignoring the Australia boss after he was overlooked, Jones admitted that he had tried to get in touch with the fly-half, but to no avail.
‘I tried to ring him and I can’t get a hold of him,’ he said.
‘If I ring them and they don’t ring back, what do you want me to do?’
The outburst comes after the Australian made a shock confession to a private function over the status of his side earlier this August, claiming that Australian rugby ‘was miles away from where it needed to be.’
Jones also recently accused a reporter of being a ‘smartarse’ following his side’s 43-12 defeat by South Africa earlier this July.
‘Eddie, you expressed your disappointment in the week that you weren’t playing the first-choice Springboks side. Is that a bit of relief now?’ asked the bold journalist.
The former Japan coach replied: ‘South Africans are good at winning. You don’t have to be a smartarse, mate.
‘We were well and truly beaten today by a Springboks side that old mate (reporter) is calling the B team, right? I never knew there was a Springboks side that was called the B team.’
Jones departed England last year after a seven-year spell, with his final calendar year in charge being England’s worst 12 months since 2008, posting a record of six losses, one draw and five wins.
The Wallabies’ last win came in November 2022, when they defeated Wales 39-34 in Cardiff
Emerging scrum-half Tate McDermott was a surprising selection as Wallabies vice captain
Veteran openside flanker Michael Hooper was a shock omission after Eddie Jones named his final World Cup squad
Speaking exclusively to Mail Sport in January, Jones claimed that he knew England were going to sack him even while he was still in charge.
Watch every Test match and World Cup game, ad-free, live and on demand on the Home of Rugby, Stan Sport.
Rugby Australia, meanwhile, confirmed Davis, a former Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats player, stepped aside from the Wallabies squad to deal with a personal matter.
Davis was recruited by Jones from London Irish rugby club, where he had worked as a defensive coach having worked at a suite of other big rugby clubs in England after playing 215 games in the Super League.
His departure has left the Wallabies scrambling for a new attack coach for the World Cup campaign which hasn’t begun well for Jones.
The Wallabies lost all four games in the Rugby Championship, including back-to-back defeats by New Zealand as the All Blacks secured another Bledisloe Cup.
It was followed up by the 41-17 defeat in Paris against France.
Will Skelton is the new captain, with emerging halfback Tate McDermott to serve as Skelton’s deputy.
Australia’s first World Cup game is against Georgia on September 10 at 2am AEST.