Coach Jones says a lot to like about Wallabies at MCG

Mon, May 1, 2023, 5:57 AM
Melissa Woods - AAP
by Melissa Woods - AAP
Eddie Jones at the MCG | Press Conference

Eddie Jones is hoping to hang onto the Wallabies' winning record at the MCG and his own as coach as he prepares the Australians for Bledisloe Cup battle in July.

Jones was the last coach to steer the Wallabies to trans-Tasman success against the All Blacks, back in 2002, and sees no reason why they can't reclaim the prized trophy.

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"We've got plenty of talent in Australia with plenty of good players; there's not something magical between Australia and New Zealand," said Jones, who took over from axed coach Dave Rennie in January

"The Tasman sea - it doesn't create supermen on one side and on the other side there's people who are going to get beaten."

The master coach was in Melbourne on Monday to launch ticket sales for the July 29 clash at the MCG, which has hosted three Bledisloe Cup matches.

New Zealand won the first in 1997 while Australia were triumphant in 1998 and in 2007.

The Victorian government is pushing for the 2027 Rugby World Cup final to be played at the famed stadium.

"If you look at the record of Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, we've got a two-one record against the All Blacks, which is the only place in the world we've got this record," Jones said.

"It's quite a fitting time to come back here - we haven't won a cup for 22 years, we're looking forward to playing in front of the huge crowd. 

"Victorians want to have the World Cup final so it's a great opportunity for them to dress rehearse here."

With this year's World Cup kicking off in France in September, Jones said playing a high-pressure game before a large crowd would be ideal preparation.

"It's a great opportunity to play under pressure," he said. "Players live for these sort of games where you're under the most pressure, big crowds, and you've got to play good rugby."

Last year the Wallabies were in the box seat to beat the All Blacks in Melbourne at Marvel Stadium but were derailed by a controversial refereeing decision which allowed the New Zealand the chance to score a match-winning try.

Jones said it was his job to make sure the Australians better handled such challenges.

"They played very well, had the run of the game and then the referee makes the decision at the end of the game and you get beaten," he said.

"You can't get frustrated by those things - the game gives you what it gives you and then you've got to be able to cope.

"Our job is to create a team that can cope with any situation - good or bad refereeing, drunk crowd, big crowds - doesn't matter what happens we've got to be able to cope with it." 

He said he would be keeping a close eye on Saturday's Super Rugby Pacific game between the Waratahs and Reds, in which Test flankers Michael Hooper and Fraser McReight will go head to head.

The Rebels also host the Brumbies in another all-Australian tussle on Sunday.

"The local derbies are really important games, because there's a bit more pressure on in those games," Jones said. 

"Everyone understands that they're more important selection games, so to see players go head to head will be very useful in terms of selection."

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