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Rugby News: 'I'd feel like a traitor' - Eddie says he'd reject prestige job, reveals surprise Japan 'stumbling block' as SBW goes WHACK

20th November, 2023
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20th November, 2023
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Eddie Jones says his close links with Japan’s rugby president Masato Tsuchida could actually be detrimental to his chances of returning to the country as head coach.

Jones also rejected any thought of returning to Australia in charge of the British and Irish Lions in 2025.

Jones, who reportedly interviewed for the Japan position ahead of the doomed World Cup campaign, and is thought to be on a shortlist for the role, made the admission on the Bye Round Podcast with James Graham this week.

Jones and Tsuchida have been close for almost 30 years.

“He was the first Suntory coach I had had an association with and that’s probably a bit of a stumbling block,” Jones said.

“He wants to run his own race, and doesn’t want to be associated with favouritism. So I’ll just wait and see what comes out in the wash.

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“Given the disappointment of this [Wallabies] job it’s probably the first time I’ve decided I just need to sit back now. I’ve been basically coaching since 1996 and I’m just going to sit back and if somebody offers me a job I have to make sure it’s the right job and if it is I’ll give it a go.

“I’d like to keep coaching internationally – I don’t think I want to go back and coach club . If there’s not – I’ve been a consultant with Suntory in Japan since 1996 so it’s the longest relationships ever. So I’ll go back and start doing a bit with them in Japan and wait and see.

“I reckon they’ll do something in the next couple of months. I’m not rushing to get a job at the moment.

One job he has ruled out is the Lions.

“No interest. I like the English, liked coaching the English – I’ve got no time for the rest of them,” Jones said. “As a coach I don’t want any association with Ireland, Wales or Scotland. I’d feel like I’d be a traitor. So I have no interest.”

But two-time World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams wasn’t having a bar of Jones’ comments and said he was pleased to see Rugby Australia farewell the former Wallabies coach as well chairman Hamish McLennan.

“Obviously, he had that meeting,” Williams told The Sydney Morning Herald. “It says a lot about his character to be honest. It’s comical. I still can’t believe it.

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“I saw straight through his antics and his big-talking. This is a bloke who has a track record of burning bridges.

“The things that he’s done … if he was a player, you wouldn’t stand for it. It’s quite nice that they are being held accountable, just like players are.”

He added: “I commend the board on making the decision [to remove McLennan] and not fussing around. I called it before the World Cup with Eddie … that it wasn’t the right thing and it backfired tremendously. Egos need to be left at the door. The public deserves better and so do these players.”

Foz in frame for Top 14

Former All Blacks coaches Ian Foster and Joe Schmidt are on a shortlist to coach Montpellier in France’s Top 14 competition, according to a report.

French outlet Midi Libre said the pair were being considered by the 2022 champions who are on the bottom of the table. The club sacked head coach Richard Cockerill and his assistant Jean-Baptiste Élissalde on the weekend.

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Montpellier named Patrice Collazo as replacement and gave him an 18-month contract but the French outlet reports the ex-All Blacks combo were being lined up as a possible replacement in the longer term.

Foster said he was keen to continue coaching after leading the All Blacks to a one-point loss in the World Cup final last month. He flagged Japan and Europe as potential destinations.

Hooper dismissed SBW advice

Michael Hooper has revealed that former All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams had told him not to make a run at sevens.

Hoops told the Sydney Morning Herald that he asked SBW for advice before deciding to switch from XV-man rugby to sevens in an effort to represent Australia at the Paris Olympics.

Williams played for the NZ sevens team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“That didn’t fill me with a heap of confidence,” Hooper said. “I haven’t spoken to a huge amount of guys [who have made the switch from 15s to sevens], but I do want to get a lot of information from the guys who do play sevens and I need to lean on them a lot. I want to pick their brains because it is a different game.

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“There were offers throughout the year to go elsewhere and nothing sort of really pricked my ears up,” Hooper said. “[Then] I actually thought there’s the opportunity to play a different game and the opportunity of the Olympics at the end of it.

“Like, imagine doing an [Olympics] opening ceremony for Australia, walking out for your country would be pretty remarkable.

“I speak to the guys here and they’re talking about winning gold, that’s a motivated bunch of guys I can get around pretty easily.”

Hooper has started training with the squad and new teammate and Matt Gonzalez told WWOS: “He had one full training session with us today [Monday] and we’ve seen already at the breakdown that he’s going to be a real pest, even at training, so we’re going to have to be on our game in terms of that stuff.

Michael Hooper. (Photo by Nicholas Ward/ Rugby Australia)

“We do a lot of seven-on-seven work and it’s usually two-hand touch and the breakdown’s kind of left alone a little bit to give the attacking team a chance, and Hoops was just kind of in there getting his hands around the ball, pulling the ball out, so if we weren’t there quick enough he’d rip the ball out. It’s good for us; it keeps us alert and it kind of keeps us accountable for getting to the breakdown quick enough.”

English racism outrage

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Police are investigating after former England international Ugo Monye accused a supporter of racist abuse at Exeter Chiefs on Sunday.

Monye said he was targeted after Exeter’s victory against Gloucester by a fan shouting a racist obsenity.

Monye was working at the Premiership match as a pundit with TNT Sport.

“We have been made aware of an incident which happened on Sunday 19 November at Sandy Park in Exeter,” Supt Antony Hart from Devon and Cornwall Police said.

“Our enquiries are currently ongoing into the incident.

“We take all reports of hate crime extremely seriously and we will not tolerate this behaviour.”

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Exeter apologised to Monye and said the incident had been captured on CCTV with the evidence passed on to the police.

“Not a single person said a word, challenged or even reported it,” Monye said on X. “He walks off after a mild scuffle and fans are now telling me: “We’re with you”. Bs you’re with me. ‘You weren’t with me when you saw and heard the most blatant racism I’ve seen from a supporter at a live game. So fed up.’”

Springbok World Cup winner dies

South African World Cup winner Hannes Strydom has died in a car accident at the age of 58.

He was part of the Springbok team that won the 1995 Rugby World Cup and gained 21 caps between 1993 and 1997.

Former teammate and close friend Kobus Wiese told local media that details of the accident were still vague, but the vehicle Strydom was travelling in collided with a minibus taxi.

The accident took place on Sunday near the coal mining town of eMalahleni in Mpumalanga province.

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South African Rugby Union President Mark Alexander described Strydom as “one of the heroes of our local game”.

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