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'What the hell is going on?': Jilted Wallaby reveals Jones chaos and tells coaching flop to 'at least be honest'

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17th January, 2024
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Wallaby centre Len Ikitau has unloaded on the treatment he received from World Cup coach Eddie Jones.

The Brumbies star was overlooked for the tournament after suffering an injury against Argentina in July, even though he was confident he could have played a role in the seven-week tournament in France.

Jones, who walked out on the Wallabies after helming the side to a catastrophic pool exit in France, continually refused to address the reasons for leaving out Ikitau, while at the same time choosing some other players under fitness clouds for the tournament.

Whenever asked, Jones replied that he did not want to discuss players who were not chosen. It was a source of frustration to the coach including in his infamous Sydney Airport blow up at journalists that the Japan coach claims to regret.

Len Ikitau of the Wallabies celebrates after scoring a try

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Ikitau has told rugby.com.au that he was disappointed with the way Jones handled communicating with him as he tried to fight back from a 6-8 week injury to realise his World Cup dream.

“I was in contact with the doctor every couple and days and they had me on a conditioning program for a couple of weeks,” said Ikitau.

“They had this one-off Wallabies training if you were based in Brisbane. It was myself, Quade (Cooper), Taniela (Tupou) and the rest of the Brisbane boys.

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“They trained for two days and then named the squad on the Friday and I saw Quade there and said ‘I think I’m a chance to be in the squad’.

“When they said they were announcing, they were going to call all the players the night before and it wasn’t until 9:30 pm when I thought ‘what the hell is going on’ and I get a message from ‘Webby’ (World Cup team manager Chris Webb) to get in touch with Eddie and he’ll let you know what your plans are. I was like ‘does that mean I’m not in the squad?’ and he confirmed.”

Ikitau said he thought he could have been fit for the opening win against Georgia. At least he would have been able to play the dire defeats to Fiji and Wales.

“I was just disappointed at the comms I received. A good head coach would’ve called you and told you why you weren’t in the team but at the end of the day we got the manager doing the rounds,” Ikitau said.

“I was disappointed with that and the reasoning around why I wasn’t in the squad was because they didn’t want to take injured players and there was three or four guys injured guys in there.

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“It was quite disappointing because at least be honest with the reason why I wasn’t in the team.

“I was ready (for the World Cup). I was already on my way to Barbarians and thought I was fit to play but I sent (former coach Eddie Jones) a message saying I’m ready to go if anything happens and he just wrote back ‘that’s good.’”

Ikitau, 25, said he was returning to Brumbies camp with a Wallabies recall on his mind this year.

“It was obviously disappointing not being in that World Cup squad but I think everything happens for a reason,” he said.

“Everyone who didn’t make the World Cup squad sees 2023 as a terrible year but it was the best year for me because I had my little boy (Lennox). I can’t dwell on not making the squad when the best thing that’s ever happened to me happened in 2023.”

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