Eddie Jones denies betraying Australian rugby after taking charge of Japan for a second time #Eddie #Jones #denies #betraying #Australian #rugby #charge #Japan #time

TOKYO (AP) — Eddie Jones rejected the assertion he betrayed Australian rugby after becoming the coach of Japan, six weeks after quitting the Wallabies following their worst-ever Rugby World Cup campaign.

The charismatic Jones said on Wednesday he felt no guilt in taking the Japan job for a second time amid claims he had an interview with the Japanese Rugby Football Union before the World Cup.

Jones insisted he didn’t conduct an interview until December and Masato Tsuchida, the JRFU president, said any conversations with Jones before that came as part of a wider search for the best possible candidate and to get more information.

Jones said his intention had been to stay with Australia until the 2027 World Cup but exercised his right to leave his role one year into a five-year deal after a difference of opinion in how to take the team forward.

“I feel terrible about the results of Australia because I wanted to go back and change Australia,” Jones told a news conference in Tokyo after being presented as coach. “But I don’t feel any guilt at all about this process.”

Jones added: “I gave everything I could for that short period of time but it wasn’t good enough. I had a plan of what we needed to do to change Australian rugby and we weren’t able to do that, Rugby Australia weren’t able to help support that, so I decided to move on.”

Asked how he felt about getting accused of being a liar and letting down Australia, Jones said: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I can’t control that opinion. The only thing I can control is what I did. It sits well with me. If people feel like that, that’s their judgement. I can’t control that.”

Jones is looking to rebuild his reputation after Australia failed to reach the knockout stage at a World Cup for the first time after pool-stage losses to Wales and Fiji. Before that, he spent seven years with England — and got the team to the 2019 World Cup final — only to be fired after his methods stopped working and the English won just five of their 12 test matches in 2022.

He returns to a position he held from 2012-15, culminating in him leading the Brave Blossoms to one of the biggest upsets in all of sports when they beat South Africa at the 2015 World Cup.

Jones, whose mother and wife are Japanese, said his aim is to make Japan a top-four nation in the world and to forge a “real identity” and a team that has “a point of difference.”

Jamie Joseph left as Japan coach after the World Cup in France, where the team was eliminated in the pool stage – four years after reaching the quarterfinals for the first time on home soil.

“I feel how important rugby is to Japanese society now,” Jones said. “When I coached Japan in 2015, we were a team that hadn’t won a game in 24 years at the World Cup. And it wasn’t a team that the Japanese public loved.

“Now we have a team the public love, rugby is a major player in society, and to be part of the push for Japan to be in the top eight, top four in the world is an exciting opportunity.”


AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby

#Eddie #Jones #denies #betraying #Australian #rugby #charge #Japan #time

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