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Thread: Pressure again mounting on Eddie Jones

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    Pressure again mounting on Eddie Jones

    Eddie Jones must go

    By Peter Jenkins
    May 07, 2007 12:00


    FORMER Queensland firebrand Sam Scott-Young last night called on the Reds to sack coach Eddie Jones after a record-breaking Pretoria pummelling served as the final humiliation in Australian rugby's season from hell.

    Not one of the four domestic franchises qualified for the Super 14 playoffs.

    Even worse, Queensland and NSW finished bottom and second last on the ladder.

    But even those galling facts paled against the embarrassment of early yesterday morning when the Reds were annihilated 92-3 by the rampaging Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

    On the same ground that the Wallabies suffered the darkest day in their Test history a 61-22 defeat to the Springboks in 1997 Queensland fell to their worst hiding in a history spanning more than 100 years.

    It was also the heaviest loss for any side in the 12-year life of Super 12 and Super 14 competitions, outstripping the 77-point margin when the Crusaders flogged NSW 96-19 in 2002.

    Scott-Young said Jones had to carry the blame for the season's failures and the final-round South African disaster, when the Reds leaked 13 tries.

    He even claimed that the magnitude of the defeat suggested it was some form of player revolt against the one-time Wallabies coach.

    "I can't believe it," said Scott-Young, a Queensland diehard and former Test back-rower. "It's an absolutely incredible scoreline and an absolute disgrace.

    "There's obviously something deeply wrong with Queensland rugby, something that goes beyond the scoreboard.

    "Eddie Jones has to go and go now and (Wallabies assistant coach) Michael Foley should be installed in the job.

    "How can a team that pulls on the Queensland jumper get beaten like that? Could it be a player revolt? Have they lost confidence in the coach or even not like the coach?

    "All I can say is if the QRU don't sack Jones immediately then it has a lot to answer for. It would be a laughable administration."

    Jones spoke to The Daily Telegraph from Pretoria and said calls for his head were "to be expected".

    But he also remained committed to coaching the side again next season.

    "There's definitely a problem with our culture," he said. "Substantial things need to change. It's about really toughing it out when it does get very hard."

    "It got a bit too much for some of these blokes last night. We didn't find that little bit extra."

    Jones' critics will be further enraged when they learn the coach is taking a week's holiday, not returning to Queensland with the team, and is understood to be heading instead to the UK for a few days with the Saracens club.

    But Queensland Rugby Union chairman Peter Lewis gave no hint of any moves against Jones.

    "With one exception, every one of those players busted their balls," he said. "It was just very disappointing for a young team trying to get back up off its knees.

    "It's been a tough year and that was a really tough way to finish. This is ground zero."

    While Queensland are in disarray, NSW coach Ewen McKenzie is preparing to embark on a season review that could have far-reaching ramifications.

    As revealed in The Sunday Telegraph, senior players are concerned about several issues, including the recruitment and retention programs, the high number of consultants surrounding the squad, and the lack of a designated attack coach.

    "A lot of the things raised in the paper ... are things we're already looking at in terms of improving our business," McKenzie said. "We've got a significant leadership group in place and some of those issues have already been on the table.

    "We're getting player input, getting staff input, we're going to spend the next couple of weeks actually nailing all that stuff down.

    "But in the two previous years the systems we're talking about have served us very well.

    "If it's off-cue this year we'll fix it up. But it's worked well when we're winning so I don't see why you chuck everything out just because you've had a poor season."


    Jones must improve skills - Horan

    Tuesday, May 8, 2007

    Queensland rugby great Tim Horan says under fire coach Eddie Jones must "improve his skills" if the Reds are going to bounce back from a disastrous 2007 Super 14 season.

    Horan also called for an urgent "cultural shift" at the Reds after they collected their first wooden spoon.

    Jones is feeling the heat after his debut season with the Reds ended with a 92-3 loss to the Bulls in South Africa - the worst defeat in Queensland's 125-year rugby history.

    While the Reds fly back into Brisbane today, Jones is spending a week's break in the UK and is expected to spend some time at English club Saracens - with the Queensland hierarchy's blessing.

    Rugby Hall of Famer Horan hopes Jones spends his time wisely in England and uses his expected stint at Saracens to help re-evaluate his coaching methods.

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    "Eddie is going to have to have a good, hard look at his patterns of play and the way he is coaching," Horan told AAP.

    "Because if you look just at (Jones') results at the Wallabies and the Reds, it's obviously not going to be a good percentage rate.

    "Hopefully for Eddie Jones ... (he will) evaluate his coaching skills and improve his skills through what he sees in the UK.

    "A lot of coaches go on fact-finding missions and see how other teams are structured, run and managed - he would not be over there for a holiday."

    Jones has two more seasons left on his Queensland contract but in April only committed himself to the Reds until the end of 2008.

    Calls for Queensland rugby to sack Jones gained momentum after it was revealed the Reds board would hold an "ad hoc" meeting today.

    However, Queensland rugby boss Peter Lewis said today's gathering was "not a crisis meeting" and that Jones and the team would be reviewed over the coming weeks.

    "But we are hardly going to kick him out the door," Lewis said.

    Horan - a national selector during Jones' tenure as Wallabies coach - said the Reds mentor must stay but admitted some changes had to be made at the Super 14 club.

    "Maybe we've got to re-evaluate where Queensland rugby is heading," he said.

    "There are always down-turns and up-swings at any club over a period of time.

    "I fully support Eddie Jones and the players (but) maybe there's got to be a cultural shift.

    "I know the amount of work they are putting in but sometimes you are not good enough - that's just a fact of life in professional sport.

    "Maybe it (the 92-3 loss) has given us a really big kick up the pants - not only the team but an organisation as a whole."

    Horan said Queensland's "No.1 priority" should be an aggressive recruitment strategy.

    Jones will return to Australia next week before an official review of the Reds' season is undertaken.

    Jones has also raised eyebrows over his plans to take leave later this year and miss the Australian Rugby Championship where the nation's rising talent will be on display.

    While Lewis believes Jones will relocate to England after 2008, he did not weigh into the debate over whether the Reds should dump the coach now so they could plan a long term future.

    "I'm sure he will (relocate to England). One of the parts of the (end of season) review is the future of our coaching staff - that's the time to address the issue," he said.

    "Everything is on the table at the end of the season. He is part of the review.

    "I know he is working on his submissions, he has some pretty strong ideas - but we are hardly going to kick him out the door.

    "It's time for cool reflection."

    AAP

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    "There is no intention to sack Eddie,'' Freer said.
    "As our Chairman Peter Lewis said as recently as yesterday, Eddie has a three year contract with us and we want him to continue in the job."

    Didn't I read this just the other day??

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