Rugby Australia boss’ big ‘integrity’ swipe at Jones

The Japan Rugby Football Union won’t be receiving a “please explain” letter from Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh if Eddie Jones’ appointment there as head coach comes to pass.

It’s expected the JRFU will ratify Jones as the new spearhead of the national rugby team later this week with an official announcement to follow.

Earlier this year, Rugby Australia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Japan’s governing body headlined “with the objective of building a stronger relationship between the two unions”.

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Waugh flat-batted questions about Jones’ expected defection to Japan, which comes just over a month after he dumped Australia just months despite signing a five-year deal to coach the Wallabies.

“No,” said Waugh when asked if he’d be asking the JRFU for an explanation.

“We’ve got a good relationship with all national unions. We play a lot of Test matches against Japan and we look forward to continuing that strong partnership. 

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“I’m not gonna buy into speculation of what may have occurred. 

“We’re moving forward and look forward to putting all those new appointments in place and building a really strong culture for the Wallabies going forward.”

Despite numerous reports that Jones was in talks with Japan, the then-head coach of the Wallabies consistently maintained he wasn’t in any formal discussions.

Throughout the Rugby World Cup and beyond, Waugh and Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan maintained their faith in Jones and took his word at face value.

Although Waugh stopped short of admitting any wrongdoing from any party, the former Wallabies captain said “integrity” mattered most to the team moving forward.

“As I said back at the time, I took Eddie on his word,” said Waugh.

“And we want to be a game of integrity and a team of integrity and took Eddie on his words.

“As I said, we finished our employment obligations on the 25th of November and we’re moving forward and looking forward to 2024.”

“We’re moving forward with hopefully announcing a new head coach for the Wallaroos this week, a new director of high performance, and then in the market for a new head coach of the Wallabies,” he added.

“I made my comments at the World Cup and I still stand by those comments and we’re moving forward. Not a lot to comment on that even though that’s not official yet.”

Jones could be formally appointed as the new Japan head coach as soon as Wednesday.

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