Aussie Eddie Jones has been sacked as England manager after the worst season since 2008

When Eddie Jones was appointed England coach in 2015, I asked him how he thought he would get along with the British media.

Having worked in the UK for two years as a sports correspondent for a major Australian media group, I had seen the English press in action up close and I knew that when they got a sniff of blood they were as ruthless as a great white shark.

“I’m telling you Eddie,” I said. “They’re like nothing you’ve ever experienced.”

He seemed unconcerned and said he once got some good advice from rugby league coach Brian Smith.

Aussie Eddie Jones Has Been Sacked As England Manager After The Worst Season Since 2008

Aussie Eddie Jones has been sacked as England manager after the worst season since 2008

“He told me that when it comes to the media, you’re never as good as they say you are, or as bad as they say you are. I always keep that in mind.’

The problem was that when the British press started clamoring for Eddie’s head after last month’s 27-13 defeat to the Springboks at Twickenham, Smith’s words didn’t apply.

Eddie really was as bad as they said he was.

With just five wins and a draw from 12 Tests in 2022 – England’s worst season since 2008 – it came as no surprise that English rugby chief Bill Sweeney said he was ‘very disappointed’ with the team’s performance.

But firing the coach just 10 months before the next World Cup? It was a big call.

After all, Jones had achieved a 73 percent success rate in his 81 games over the past seven seasons, better than any other England coach. He had sided with three Six Nations titles, a Grand Slam and a record-equalling 18 consecutive Test wins.

He had also cemented his reputation as a master of Rugby World Cup preparation. In 2003 he took the Wallabies to the final. In 2007, he was assistant coach of the South African team that won. In 2015, his Japanese side caused arguably the biggest setback in the game’s history when they beat the Springboks and four years later took England to the final.

And it wasn’t all smooth sailing either. In both 2003 and 2019, his sides struggled in the run-up and months before the tournament started, there were calls that he would be sacked.

Still, both teams came at the right time, just as Eddie said they would. In 2003, reporters described Jones as giving the Wallabies a ‘Melbourne Cup preparation’.

As his former Wallaby and ACT Brumbies player Matt Giteau said last night, “He plans and plans years in advance for this game. It’s the only game he gets consistently right time and time again.’

Matt Giteau (Pictured Passing The Ball During A Training Session When Jones Was Wallabies Coach In 2003) Defended His Former Coach, Saying He Was The Perfect Mentor Ahead Of Next Year'S World Cup

Matt Giteau (Pictured Passing The Ball During A Training Session When Jones Was Wallabies Coach In 2003) Defended His Former Coach, Saying He Was The Perfect Mentor Ahead Of Next Year'S World Cup

Matt Giteau (pictured passing the ball during a training session when Jones was Wallabies coach in 2003) defended his former coach, saying he was the perfect mentor ahead of next year’s World Cup

But despite knowing all that – and with the prospect of having to hand over a $1 million payout to terminate his contract early – England sacked him.

That begs the question: isn’t there more to it than just losing six Tests?

Of course that’s true. Although he is a master coach, Eddie Jones has another skill. He can piss people off more than anyone else in world sport.

In 2017 I approached Eddie with the idea of ​​collaborating on a biography.

In the years I had dealt with him coaching the Brumbies, Wallabies, Queensland Reds, Japan and England, I found him to be one of the most interesting, charismatic and intriguing characters I had ever dealt with.

Eddie Jones, Who Made His Name Playing For Randwick In The Shute Shield Before Embarking On A Storied Coaching Career, Is A Polarizing Figure To Many Players, Coaches, Administrators And Fans...as Well As One Of The Great Characters Of World Rugby

Eddie Jones, Who Made His Name Playing For Randwick In The Shute Shield Before Embarking On A Storied Coaching Career, Is A Polarizing Figure To Many Players, Coaches, Administrators And Fans...as Well As One Of The Great Characters Of World Rugby

Eddie Jones, who made his name playing for Randwick in the Shute Shield before embarking on a storied coaching career, is a polarizing figure to many players, coaches, administrators and fans…as well as one of the great characters of world rugby

Most of all I liked him, and I hoped other people would like a book about him too.

Unfortunately, Eddie informed me that he had already signed a book deal with someone else. Unperturbed, I decided to go ahead and write what is known in the trade as an ‘unauthorized biography’.

That turned out to be a good thing, because it meant I could give a balanced view of the man and address not only his supporters, but also his opponents.

And there were plenty of both.

Ex-Wallaby Elton Flatley described Jones as the best coach he ever played under. Doubles international Wendell Sailor said he was cut off by Rugby Australia after being suspended for cocaine use, but Jones called regularly to check on him and his family. A former member of the Wallabies coaching staff recalled how, when his marriage was on the rocks, Jones offered to fly from England to provide support.

And then there was the other side of the coin. Players pushed to the brink of breaking point, managers who found it difficult to work with Jones, and support staff exhausted by his high expectations.

A Despondent Eddie Jones Has Finally Fallen Victim To A Campaign To Have Him Sacked After England'S Poor Season

A Despondent Eddie Jones Has Finally Fallen Victim To A Campaign To Have Him Sacked After England'S Poor Season

A despondent Eddie Jones has finally fallen victim to a campaign to have him sacked after England’s poor season

In recent days, as the ‘Sack Eddie Jones’ campaign gained momentum, much has been written and said about some of his assistant coaches considering quitting.

Is this news? Eddie has gone through assistant coaches from day one like a kid eating a pack of M&Ms. He burns them out. They can’t keep up with his obsessive pursuit of excellence; the daily 6 a.m. meetings, incessant video analysis, incredibly long hours, and what one former assistant described as his “notorious verbal sprays.”

Former Wallaby Roger Gould lasted just four weeks before walking away.

“I couldn’t believe how he talked to people in front of other people,” Gould told me. “I’ve guided enough people to know that there are some things you just can’t do to them. You can’t take away their dignity.’

There were also numerous examples of his reluctance to accept input from senior executives.

Former Rugby Australia CEO John O’Neill was one of several senior executives who had a thorny relationship with Jones. He said that on one occasion, after a furious argument with Brett Robinson, the ARU’s head of high performance, Eddie stormed out of Robinson’s office and slammed the door so hard that the lock broke.

And Eddie didn’t just sideline people. He has managed to upset entire countries by calling Wales a ‘bastard’ and the Irish a ‘scummy’.

Dejected England Players Leave The Field After Yet Another Defeat Under Jones;  This Time To South Africa At Twickenham In November

Dejected England Players Leave The Field After Yet Another Defeat Under Jones;  This Time To South Africa At Twickenham In November

Dejected England players leave the field after yet another defeat under Jones; this time to South Africa at Twickenham in November

For seven years, the people who run English rugby are willing to overlook Eddie’s dark side as long as the team wins and Twickenham is full of happy fans. Either, or as some claim, they were intimidated by him and were just waiting for an excuse to get rid of him.

Likewise, until recently, the British media loved him tossing them tasty treats to fill their columns. He is colorful, amusing, controversial and, at least for a while, successful.

But then the inevitable happened. It has reached its expiration date.

When Jones was appointed to the job, former Wallaby captain Phil Kearns was asked how he thought England would perform under his former Randwick club teammate.

“I think they’ll be incredibly successful in the short term,” he said. The big question is what happens next?

‘He is a very astute coach, but at a certain point the fanatical work ethic goes too far.

“I heard some guys from the Japanese team say they would never play under him again because they couldn’t keep up with the workload, it was so intense. It will be interesting to see how the Pommies go over time.”

Eddie Jones, Pictured After England Lost The 2019 Rugby World Cup Final To South Africa, Is Now A Free Man And Has Not Closed The Door On Any Coaching Job

Eddie Jones, Pictured After England Lost The 2019 Rugby World Cup Final To South Africa, Is Now A Free Man And Has Not Closed The Door On Any Coaching Job

Eddie Jones, pictured after England lost the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final to South Africa, is now a free man and has not closed the door on any coaching job

The answer to that is that they went pretty well. The real question now is, what next for Eddie Jones?

As many long-suffering Wallaby fans hope, will he return to Australia and pick up where he left off when he was sacked by Rugby Australia 17 years ago?

Over the course of our countless conversations over the years, Eddie said two things that always stood out.

‘I’m not divorced from Australia, Australia’s divorced from me’ and ‘I’m a professional coach. I never shut the door on anything.’

We can only hope he comes back, because one thing is for sure, it’s going to be a great ride.

Until he really is as bad as the media say.