Rugby Australia boss Phil Waugh said it would be “very, very disappointing” if Eddie Jones had a job interview with Japan before the World Cup and declined to comment on his future as Wallabies coach until the completion of a review. The Sydney Morning Herald reported Jones was interviewed by the Japan Rugby Football Union for a role before the Wallabies’ opening match of the World Cup in France.
Jones, who is contracted through to the end of the 2027 World Cup, has repeatedly denied it and said on Tuesday he was committed to coaching the Wallabies. Waugh said Jones had also denied it to him personally and he “(took) him for his word”, but made it clear he would view it dimly if it were proven otherwise.
“Everyone would be very, very disappointed if he had, particularly given the stage that we were at going into the World Cup,” Waugh told Sydney radio station 2GB. Asked if Jones had been disloyal, Waugh said: “Anyone of a reasonable mind would say that if those conversations did occur, going into a World Cup, then I think that would be an appropriate assumption.
“It’s not a big call. “That’d be fair to say that if those conversations were occurring in the middle of a World Cup campaign for Australia, at a World Cup that we were going to win, then it would be disappointing.”
The Japan Rugby Football Union has declined to comment on whether Jones was interviewed. Jones picked an inexperienced squad and omitted several seasoned campaigners for the World Cup, where Australia crashed out of the group stage for the first time.
Waugh declined to comment on Jones’s future as coach or whether a job interview with a rival rugby union in the lead up to a World Cup would count as a breach of contract. He said RA would act on recommendations after a review and assessment of the World Cup campaign.
“The reality is that we were clearly very disappointing in the World Cup,” said Waugh. “And we’ve let down Australians that put the trust and belief in the environment to do well.
“It’s been disappointing and we’ve got a lot to do in terms of regaining the trust of the public. “We need to do a thorough assessment of our performance and the campaign, which we’re in the process of doing and, hopefully, we can do that really quickly.”
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