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Eddie Jones: Wallabies’ victory will ‘sink New Zealand economy’


Eddie Jones, as confident as ever ahead of the Wallabies Test against the All Blacks in Melbourne on Saturday, says a defeat for the visitors will sink New Zealand into a depression.

The acerbic Australia head coach, who led England to a famous World Cup semifinal victory over the All Blacks in Japan four years ago, was happy to fire a few shots New Zealand’s way today despite the Wallabies failing to register a Rugby Championship victory so far this year.

Jones, who replaced the sacked Kiwi Dave Rennie, is no stranger to mind games and continued a long-running theme ahead of what he described as “the most important game of the year. It’s New Zealand rugby versus Australian rugby. There’s nothing better than that”.

Apart from his dire predictions for the New Zealand economy in the event of an All Black defeat, Jones also commented on New Zealand Rugby’s controversial decision to replace incumbent coach Ian Foster with Scott Robertson after the World Cup.

The All Blacks have registered comprehensive victories over Argentina and South Africa in the Rugby Championship and a win on Saturday would allow them to win that competition and the Bledisloe Cup for another year.

Not that Jones, who has named a side containing plenty of changes, appeared bothered.

“There’s nothing better than winning New Zealand because you’re feeling the country sinking,” he said.

“It’s not just rugby that sinks, the country sinks. The whole economy goes down. The prime minister is there with his fingers crossed hoping the All Blacks win because he knows the economy will drop if they lose. So we can have that effect and at the some time Australian kids want to play rugby again. At the moment too many want to play AFL.”

In response, Foster, who named a side today without injured captain Sam Cane, said: “You might want to mention that to [Prime Minister Chris] Hipkins and [Opposition leader Chris] Luxon and they might want to comment on that. I just want to deal with the game.”

Asked if he expected those sorts of barbs from Jones, Foster said: “I love it, he is who he is. He prepares his team his way and we prepare our team our way.”

Jones added: “Can we put the Kiwis under pressure on Saturday? Yes, under a lot of pressure, and maybe they’re going to get a bit of a surprise.

“[I] can see the way you’re sitting here thinking ‘what is this bloke talking about? How can that Australian team take on New Zealand? We’ve been fantastic the first two games.’ And you have been mate, you’ve been really fantastic, so you haven’t changed, you’re still fans with keyboards, so nothing’s changed.”

Of Foster, Jones said: “I don’t mind having a glass of red with him. He’s a good man.

“He had a board that reacted to the media pressure… he could go on and produce one of the greatest All Black teams and then his fate’s already sealed. That’s why I think we’ve seen a different approach from New Zealand this year. Normally in a World Cup year they’re very measured and they want to peak at the World Cup… I’ve never seen a New Zealand team come out in a Rugby Championship [in World Cup year] ready to go straight away, flying, we’ve seen that in the first two games.

“Probably the first two 40s have been the best rugby I’ve seen for a while and maybe that’s got to do with the coach appointment.

“I know the players value him greatly as a coach and we all know he’s a good rugby man so they’re playing with a lot of passion and a lot of drive and a lot of direction. So for us it’s the ultimate test.

“I think it might be a little bit of that mate. ‘Let’s show em what we’ve got, don’t hold back’, whereas before they might have waited till the World Cup to do it.

“That approach can be highly successful but it also has it’s disadvantages.”