Optimist Eddie Jones claims the Wallabies can hurt New Zealand’s economy and ‘sink the whole country’ by beating the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup clash
Eddie Jones has fired the opening salvo in the war of words ahead of the Bledisloe Cup opener, claiming he relishes the chance to beat the All Blacks as ‘the whole country goes under’.
The Wallabies take on the All Blacks at the MCG on Saturday looking to regain trans-Tasmanian bragging rights for the first time in 21 years.
And Jones wasted no time in putting pressure on New Zealand, insisting they took on the expectations of an entire country.
“There’s nothing better than winning against New Zealand because you feel like the country is sinking,” Jones said on Friday.
‘It’s not just rugby that is sinking, the country is sinking. The entire economy crashes.
Eddie Jones wants to beat New Zealand at MCG to ‘sink the whole country’
All Blacks manager Ian Foster was unfazed by Jones’ bullish claims
“The prime minister is there with his fingers crossed hoping the All Blacks win because he knows the economy will fall if they lose.
‘So we can have that effect and at some point Australian kids want to play rugby again. At the moment many want to play AFL.’
TEAMS WALLABIES VS ALL BLACKS
kangaroos: 15-Andrew Kellaway, 14-Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13-Jordan Petaia, 12-Samu Kerevi, 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-Carter Gordon, 9-Tate McDermott, 8-Rob Valetini, 7-Tom Hooper, 6-Jed Holloway , 5-Will Skelton, 4-Nick Frost, 3-Allan Alaalatoa, 2-David Porecki, 1-Angus Bell
replacements: 16-Jordan Uelese, 17-James Slipper, 18-Taniela Tupou, 19-Richie Arnold, 20-Rob Leota, 21-Nic White, 22-Quade Cooper, 23-Izaia Perese.
All the black people: 15-Beauden Barrett, 14-Will Jordan, 13-Rieko Ioane, 12-Jordie Barrett, 11-Mark Telea, 10-Richie Mo’unga, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Ardie Savea, 7-Dalton Papali’i, 6 -Shannon Frizell, 5-Scott Barrett, 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Ethan de Groot
Replacements: 16-Samison Taukei’aho, 17-Ofa Tuungafasi, 18-Nepo Laulala, 19-Sam Whitelock, 20-Luke Jacobson, 21-Cam Roigard, 22-Anton Lienert-Brown, 23-Caleb Clarke.
Unsurprisingly, All Blacks manager Ian Foster responded to the comments with a straight bat.
“You might want to mention that to (Prime Minister Chris) Hipkins and (Opposition Leader Christopher) Luxon and they can deal with that comment,” he said.
I just want to take care of the game.
When asked if he was concerned about Jones’ barbs, Foster replied: “I love it.” He is who he is. He prepares his team in his way, and we prepare our team in our way.’
Jones was in charge of the Wallabies when they last won the Bledisloe Cup in 2002, but his second spell in charge got off to a disappointing start.
Australia were thrashed 43-12 by South Africa in Pretoria earlier this month and then conceded a last-minute try to lose 34-31 at home to Argentina a week later.
New Zealand, meanwhile, beat the Pumas 41-12 in Argentina and defeated the Springboks 35-20 at home.
The Wallabies’ recent record against the All Blacks does not bode well for their chances either, as Australia have lost each of their last five meetings against New Zealand.
Jones has made the changes for the first Bledisloe Cup clash, with rookie five-eighths Carter Gordon set to make his first Test start.
The 22-year-old will join Tate McDermott in a new pairing of halves, with Quade Cooper and Nic White on the bench, while Andrew Kellaway will start at fullback.
Jones also named Jordan Petaia at outside center and Tom Hooper in the unusual position of open winger, with co-captain Michael Hooper still sidelined with a calf injury.
The Wallabies have lost their first two Tests of Jones’ second spell in charge
The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup for the past 21 years.
Prop Allan Alaalatoa will lead the team with fellow co-captain James Slipper starting in the reserves.
“I don’t think I’ve ever picked a younger Test team, I think we’ve got 290 caps in the starting 15,” Jones said.
“I would say the All Blacks would have close to 1000 caps so we have a young team ready to face them without much past history, just ready to play.”
The All Blacks, for their part, will be without captain Sam Cane, who has suffered a neck injury and will be replaced by Dalton Papali’i.