Wallabies legend and Eddie Jones’ close mate Mark Ella has told the under fire coach he has “got to be honest” when he faces questions over the team’s World Cup failure on Tuesday.
Jones will hold a media conference at Coogee Oval at 9.30am AEDT where it is expected he will make a statement on his future amidst reports that he was interviewed for the vacant Japan job.
Ella and Jones met up nearby ahead of Jones’ ill-fated tournament – where the Wallabies crashed out in the pool stage for the first time in their history by losing to Wales and Fiji.
Ella said he thought Jones would opt to stay with the Wallabies. The coach has a contract through to the end of the 2027 World Cup on home soil but his future is the subject of much conjecture.
“It has been hard, but he knew what was in front of him, and it wasn’t like he didn’t know what was coming,” Ella was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I think he will stay. I don’t think he’s a guy who wants to give up so easily. He’s only had six months. He’s tried to change the team, and that’s all great, but he needs more time. It’s as simple as that.
“Eddie was always talking about how he only had six months [to prepare for the Cup], how we’ll do our best, but we need to look at the next World Cup. He’s got four years, and if he’s around, he better bloody pull his finger out.”
Ella described Jones as a “grumpy little person” when under pressure and the coach’s prickly dealings with media before, during and since the World Cup disaster make this obvious.
Ella added he was surprised by the reports linking Jones to the Japan job.
“I’ll ask Eddie the same question and ask, ‘What the far out went wrong?’. He has to come up with the right answer. If he doesn’t, he might as well look to Japan. I found that strange. You don’t come from England to Australia then within six months you’re looking at another job.
“I don’t know. We’ll all know soon. He’ll face the Australian media tomorrow. He’s got to be honest and tell the media and rugby supporters exactly what’s going on.
“I’m hoping he meets the press, tells them the truth, and that he will be here another four or five years.”
Former Wallabies captain Stephen Moore meanwhile told the ABC that he believed Jones was never committed to the Wallabies job.
Jones told a podcast prior to the tournament that he would be leaving ahead of schedule, win or lose – although he later tried to pass it off as a a joke.
“It looks like he’s [Jones] in the mix for that Japan role,” Moore said. “I think, to be fair, people are a bit over it to be honest, and we’re looking to clear it up next week and get some honest truths out of Eddie about what his intentions are, and I think it will be the best thing for everyone if he just fronts up at the press conference and tells everyone what was happening.
“I think he’s never really felt fully committed to the role, there’s always been conjecture around is he coming or going.
“He’s got a very strong relationship with the Japanese president and there’s always been speculation, hasn’t there, about whether he’s going to take that role after the World Cup.
“I think there’s never been real certainty around what he’s doing … we need clarity from Eddie and from Rugby Australia to do our reviews and move on.”
Jones has repeatedly denied that he interviewed for the Japan job to replace Jamie Joseph.