Here’s why Eddie Jones’ claims about Japan job are misleading  

Here’s why Eddie Jones’ claims about Japan job are misleading

Like you, we are huge sports fans. Would you mind helping us to keep you updated?
Participate in Things

On August 25, two days before the Wallabies played France in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match, Eddie Jones called into a Zoom meeting from Paris.

The headline reads, “JRFU 1st Round Interviews with M15 HC Candidates,” at that conference room.

In an attempt to replace Jamie Joseph as head coach, representatives from the Japan Rugby Football Union were interviewing potential candidates.

In order to discuss his role as Japan’s coach starting in 2024, Jones attended that discussion.

That covert meeting made it quite evident that going back to Japan was a real possibility.

The nature and intent of that call are now being contested, following months of complete denials, as part of damage control spin put out this week by Jones and his new employers, the JRFU.

They assert that it was a “information gathering” operation carried out by Jones and Odgers Berndtson, the recruiting company hired to manage the JRFU’s procedure.

Based on reliable Japanese sources and more compelling evidence indicating Jones was clearly interested in the position, The Sydney Morning Herald maintains its earlier report that the August 25 meeting was an interview with the JRFU.

There is no question about the fact that Jones was working as the Wallabies’ coach at the time, less than a year into a five-year contract, when he signed into Zoom from Paris, at the team hotel close to Roland Garros.

In addition, he had two days off from the final warm-up match before the Rugby World Cup for the Wallabies. Only a few weeks prior, Jones had made the controversial decision to leave out numerous veteran Wallabies and choose the inexperienced and youngest World Cup team in Australian rugby history.

The Wallabies in France suffered as a result of their decision. And Jones had resigned in a matter of weeks.

He was unveiled as Japan’s new coach on Wednesday night.

Given that Rugby Australia had forged a friendship deal with the Japanese union in July, Jones’ appointment may have created negative optics. Nevertheless, this week, Jones and JRFU executives offered an explanation of their second marriage. Jones had coached Japan before, from 2012 to 2015.

When the Sydney Morning Herald questioned JRFU chairman Kensuke Iwabuchi about Jones’ initial interview on August 25, the masthead was present at a briefing for local media on Wednesday night. Iwabuchi stated that Jones was contacted through a recruitment agency and did not participate in a first-round interview prior to the World Cup. Because Jones had coached in Japan before, they wanted his opinion.

In remarks that were translated, Iwabuchi stated, “In actuality, there [was] no interview via Zoom.” “Odgers Berndtson, the hiring firm, has communicated with numerous individuals. Thus, it is the contact for information gathering; nonetheless, it was not an interview for the purpose of choosing a head coach.

Iwabuchi asserted that Jones only had one interview—in December—while other applicants for the Japan position had two.

While still in command of the Wallabies, Jones was asked explicitly at his October Coogee Oval press conference if he had discussed the Japan post with any outside recruitment firms. “Not that I know of,” Jones remarked.

However, Jones asserted in a Thursday night speech that the August 25 Zoom call was a discussion with the recruiters.

He said, “I was asked to share my experiences in Japan with the recruitment agency.” That may have been interpreted as an interview by some. It was not an interview, by any means. I spoke with Japan for the first time in December. I have only had one interview thus far.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s acquisition of material through Japanese sources contradicts the version of events put out by Jones and the JRFU. The evidence reveals Iwabuchi and other senior Japanese officials participating in the Zoom conversation.

The Sydney Morning Herald has obtained screenshots from Japanese sources who are not authorized to publicly discuss the hiring process. These sources indicate that Jones accepted an invitation to the JRFU for a first-round Zoom interview on August 25 and willingly participated in the official hiring process.

Jones and other officials received a Zoom invitation with the subject line “JRFU: First round interview, Eddie Jones.” The invitation states Friday, August 25, as the date.

There’s also a Zoom link provided, however it appears in Japanese. The Zoom connection, which leads to a meeting room, has been confirmed by the Sydney Morning Herald.

JRFU workers had access to each other’s calendars and could see the specifics of the Zoom call.

Following the release of information about the Zoom call, JRFU personnel were questioned.

Edward Jones’s name is mentioned in the attendees section. Jones accepted the Zoom offer, which the Sydney Morning Herald has confirmed was sent from a personal email address.

On September 24, The Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Jones had always planned to do a follow-up interview. The Sydney Morning Herald was able to get a secret candidate briefing document that said that applications for the position ended on August 18.

At the World Cup, the JRFU was ready to question people. Candidates who might have been nearby were invited to interact with officials who were in France.

The JRFU changed course and postponed any interviews until after the World Cup after the Sydney Morning Herald revealed Jones’ initial conversation with Japan.

The JRFU announced on Thursday night that there were no interviews conducted throughout the World Cup.

Iwabuchi responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about,” when the Sydney Morning Herald questioned him about why it was called a first round interview.

“I told you we had a conversation to get information with Eddie Jones and the recruitment company,” he continued.

“The interview procedure commenced subsequent to the World Cup. Eddie was on the shortlist when the selection committee created it following the World Cup after asking the applicant if they intended to submit.

A request for comments was made to Odgers Berndtson.

Former RA chairman Hamish McLennan, who was influential in appointing Jones in January, declined to comment.

“I have spoken with Rugby AU directly and informed [them] about this head coach selection,” Iwabuchi said. “This Eddie head coach [appointment] will not affect anything negatively on the relationship between the nations.”

Whether Jones and the JRFU’s damage control narrative is accepted by a deeply sceptical rugby public remains to be seen.

Jones said he feels no guilt about his role in the process and wants to move on to help Japan rebuild. The saga may not fade that easily, however, with Jones potentially going the way of Steven Bradbury and entering the vernacular.

After being appointed England’s women’s coach this week through to 2025, Jones’ former assistant John Mitchell was asked if he might jump ship if a major men’s role was offered.

Mitchell replied: “I am not an Eddie Jones. That’s not going to happen.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button