All Blacks legend on Eddie Jones’ ‘great skill’ which makes him like one of football’s most successful managers

 Credit: Alamy

Credit: Alamy

Eddie Jones has been likened to football manager Jose Mourinho ahead of this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup encounter against the All Blacks.

That is according to New Zealand great Sir John Kirwan, who believes that the Wallabies boss has the ability to ‘deflect’ the attention away from his players.

Australia are already under pressure having lost their first two Rugby Championship games, going down to both South Africa and Argentina.

A match with arch-rivals New Zealand, who have found their form ahead of the Rugby World Cup, is probably not the easiest way to get back on track.

Eddie’s antics

Jones has already dictated the narrative during his time in charge having argued with a reporter after their loss to South Africa and declared that New Zealand better “look out” in Bledisloe I.

“Eddie, I love you mate. Jose Mourinho, who was Chelsea and Manchester United coach and is now in Rome, that’s what he used to do,” Kirwan told The Breakdown.

“When the team wasn’t going like he wanted, he would deflect, and it’s a great skill. After South Africa, he has a go at the journalist.

“And I think that’s the beauty of the man. He will deflect pressure off the team, and he’s probably pretty genuine behind the scenes.”

Jones has looked to stamp his mark on the squad, tweaking the overseas policy to allow him to bring in more foreign-based talent.

That has its positives but it also has its drawbacks, according to Kirwan’s fellow former All Black Jeff Wilson.

“I think this is significant. The fact that they’ve ditched their eligibility rules and said ‘these are the guys I want’,” Wilson said.

“But I’m thinking the impact of them coming in, playing in a different competition, playing different styles of rugby, and the fact that a lot of the guys who have tasted success against New Zealand sides in Super Rugby, a lot of them aren’t there. And they’re guys in key positions.”

Squad balance

Wilson also questioned Jones’ teams for the first two Rugby Championship matches after picking several players from the Melbourne Rebels, who struggled during the Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

“And this is the balance of their 23. The Brumbies have six, now they were their best-performing Super Rugby team,” he said.

“But the Rebels, they were terrible, they didn’t even make the play-offs and they’ve got six Wallabies. You start going ‘well they’ve got individual talent’ well hold on, winning’s a habit. A lot of these guys, I don’t think they’ve tasted it.

“Now he’s trying to figure out how they want to play and I’m not sure they’ve got that quite right.”

READ MORE: Wallabies legend questions Eddie Jones’ radical game plan changes

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