The Australian rugby family was left reeling amid reports that wallabies icon Eddie Jones may be departing his role as coach, less than a year into his second term. Despite the swirling speculations, Jones’ close ally, Mark Ella, pleaded with him to remain tied to Australia’s national side. It’s no secret Jones has found himself in an enviable vantage point to make a return to Japanese rugby, attracting much media attention.
Addressing the whirlwind of rumors at a scheduled Tuesday press conference, Jones is expected to also reflect on the Wallaby’s underwhelming World Cup campaign. Marcating a first, the team was unable to cross the group stage threshold. Jones, having only assumed the coaching reins in January and committing to a five-year contract running through to the 2027 World Cup, finds himself at the heart of a critical conundrum.
However, hopes of Jones infusing fresh blood into the team ahead of the crucial rugby showdown seem to be losing traction, insinuated by an impromptu interview for Japan’s premium sporting position.
In his recent ascension to The Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s Legend Status, Mark Ella lamented Jones’ potential exit, positing that Jones had been viewed as the beacon to rejuvenate Australian rugby. Ella extends his hopes that Jones “gets his act together and stays in Australia.”
Admittedly, Jones’s tenure so far has been a tough sprint rather than a marathon. An inconsistent performance, marked by a mere two wins out of four Pool C games, relegated the Wallabies to third position, with Wales and Fiji taking the lead. Jones was optimistic, moulding a young and relatively unseasoned team with an eye on the future.
Mark Ella remains confident that Jones is the lynchpin to Australia’s success, stating that, given his magic touch and dedication to this early stage commitment, Jones can steer the team to victory. Emphasizing that Jones needs to overhaul the system; Ella holds out hope that “Eddie is the person who makes Australian rugby successful again.”
Ella, who graced the rugby arena in 25 tests and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1987, is no stranger to the daunting nature of the profession. This made his recent elevation to legend status, a privilege also extended to seven-time world champion surfer Layne Beachley and AFL legend Bob Skilton, remarkable.
Overflowing with gratitude, Ella proclaimed, “Every moment representing my country was a dream so I’m delighted… it’s an honour I never thought I’d ever achieve.” The world of Australian rugby is no doubt hopeful that Jones will echo these sentiments and choose to write the next chapter of his coaching career on home turf.