Eddie Jones: Departing coach says he has no regrets over Wallabies exit

Eddie Jones at Barbarians training at Sophia Gardens
Eddie Jones led Australia and England to the World Cup final in 2003 and 2019 respectively, but lost on both occasions.

Eddie Jones insists he has no regrets about resigning as Australia head coach after less than a year in charge.

The Wallabies failed to reach the knockout stages of the recent World Cup, a first in their history.

"I went in there with a plan and the contract reinforced the plan and the commitment of both myself and Rugby Australia to fulfil obligations and we had a bit of discourse in the obligations," said Jones.

"So why should I have any regrets?"

Jones was sacked by England one month before returning as Australia coach, succeeding Dave Rennie in January.

He signed a contract until 2027, the year Australia hosts the next World Cup, but will leave the role officially on 25 November.

Australia were beaten by Fiji and lost heavily to Wales as they finished third in their World Cup group.

They won only two of nine Tests in Jones' second spell in charge - against tier-two nations Georgia and Portugal at the World Cup in France.

"Post the World Cup there was always going to be a decision to be made whether we were going to change Australian rugby or not," said Jones.

"I went in with a plan and had a commitment from Rugby Australia what that looked like.

"When the unity of where we were going wasn't the same, not because of the lack of desire from Rugby Australia, but there's other forces at play, then the only thing I could do was resign.

"The results are disappointing, but I went in there with a plan to change Australian rugby, which not only involves the team, but the system to put it together.

"When you've had 20 years of unsuccessful rugby that's because of the system and the system needs to change.

"I went in with a plan of how to change the system and that's unable to be changed. I felt my job would be compromised for the next four years, which I wasn't prepared to do.

Jones continued: "The disappointing thing was I had a vision about what needed to be done and the two parties weren't able to come to an agreement on what needed to be done.

"I don't want to work for someone like that again because it's so hard. When you're a smaller [rugby] country like Australia, you need to have everyone working together.

"It makes it very difficult and you're relying on chance, on a couple of freak players to come through. You've got to be more purposeful about that."

Jones continually insists he does not have another job lined up. Last month it was reported that he was interviewed by Japan, whom he coached from 2012 to 2015, days before the World Cup started.

"I think it is a red herring," he added.

"Look at Australian rugby, over the last 20 years we have had no success, limited success and we needed to change things.

"Now we are trying to say a supposed interview was the reason why Australia had a bad World Cup. That is a load of rubbish."

Jones has ruled out the idea of coaching the British and Irish Lions on their 2025 tour of Australia.

"I have moved from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere," he said.

"I had my go with England, I loved coaching England, and I wouldn't want to be involved in the Lions. Not at all.

'Back to English style'

Steve Borthwick was a part of Eddie Jones backroom staff for England and Japan
Steve Borthwick was a part of Eddie Jones' backroom staff for England and Japan

Jones returned to Australia after leading England to three Six Nations titles, including the Grand Slam in 2016, and to the 2019 World Cup final during his reign between 2015 and 2022.

He was replaced by Steve Borthwick, who guided England to third place and only lost to eventual winners South Africa by a point in the semi-finals.

"They were competitive, they fought hard and played tough," said Jones.

"Steve did a really good job, he went back to English rugby which suited the tournament."

One thing he disagreed with Borthwick about was playing Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith at full-back.

"Look at Richie Mo'unga [New Zealand fly-half], he is 29, experienced and he plays a great World Cup," said Jones.

"Marcus is 24, he has got a lot of learning to do, but unless he plays he never gets that learning.

"At some stage you have got to take a bit of pain if you play a guy like him. He is a good player, a very good player, but he is not a full-back.

"That is up to Steve, but if you want to develop him as a player of course he has got to play 10."

'Celebration of rugby'

Jones is in Wales as part of the Barbarians coaching staff with new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson against Warren Gatland's Wales in Cardiff this Saturday, an uncapped match for the hosts.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny will also play his last match for Wales after announcing his international retirement.

Alun Wyn Jones will lead the Barbarians where he will be joined by Justin Tipuric after the pair announced their international retirements in May on the same day.

Eddie Jones with Michael Hooper during a news conference
Eddie Jones (left) made Michael Hooper one of Australia's co-captains when he returned as head coach

Former Australia captain Michael Hooper is also in the Barbarians squad with Jones controversially omitting the Wallabies flanker from the World Cup.

Jones insists the pair of them being involved in the same squad was a "non-issue" for him and denied the game was a distraction from recent events.

"It's a game of rugby that is a celebration of the game, 50,000 people at the stadium to see us play against Wales," said Jones.

"We've got a good team, so it should be a great occasion for rugby. I've always enjoyed coaching against Warren's teams. They're tough and competitive.

"You know the way they're going to play and I think that's a strength of his teams. If you can't win the fight you can't stay in the game. This is going to be a different game.

"We're the Barbarians and we want to play a bit more and open the game up. If Wales go away from that uncompromising style, it'll be a fantastic game."