Australia needs to centralise to succeed: Jones

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

England coach Eddie Jones says his Australian counterparts will always be up against it if the national system fails to centralise.

Asked whether he felt Cheika would be with the Wallabies at the World Cup next year, the former Wallabies coach said Australia’s provincial system made things difficult for any coach.

Where countries like New Zealand and Ireland have a fully centralised structure in which the national union has the final say in many provincial decisions, Australia’s is more complex with individual state unions in place.

Cheika has worked to try and encourage greater cooperation with the states since he took over the national role, working on strategies to manage player load and share data.

“You can criticise a coach but if your system is not right then you have to look at the system and if I was involved in Australian rugby and I am not, you cannot have two of you biggest provinces bankrupt and still having all the control in the game,” he said.

“With Ireland and New Zealand – particularly with Ireland - if you have a centralised system for a small player pool you can be a very good team and consistent and Australia doesn’t have that and that is what they need and that advice is for free.”

All the coaches met recently to discuss plans for 2019 and while there is expected to be some resistance in some areas of the plans, Cheika said strengthening their bonds would only help in that space.

“I’m not in a position to control the machinations behind the scenes but I’m doing my best to build strong relationships with the coaches and CEOs  of the four Super Rugby teams,” he said.

“We had a good round of meetings before we came on the tour and agreed some basic principles about central preparation for the players next year, which will start with a national camp together for the players.

“So we are going to be able to work more with those guys and…relationships that we’re building and there has to be some give and take they are trying to do their best too.

“Behind the scenes structure, obviously is not in my direct domain. I can give my opinion but I can still effect by getting involved by building good relationships with…..”

“But I can still be involved by building good relationships with Dave Wessels from Melbourne, Brad Thorn, Dan McKellar and Daryl Gibson, and intertwine with them as much as possible so that next year we’re first of all as fit as we’ve ever been so we can play the game we want to play.”

The Wallabies will remain in England until Tuesday local time before returning to Australia.