CAPE TOWN – Eddie Jones is a gem among rugby coaches. He understands the marketing of the sport and he, more than any international coach I know, appreciates he is integral to the marketing of rugby in the build-up to big Test matches.
Jones, this week, has been in full force. He has provided the media with a headline every time that he has opened his mouth. He has spoken with conviction on some things, with humour on others and with the deadliest of ambiguity, when it comes to influencing the headline.
If only more rugby media conferences could have the Jones touch.
Jones copped it two years ago when he insulted Ireland during a business breakfast and I experienced Jones enough, as foe when he coached Australia and as ally when he was with the Springboks, to know that it was a tongue in cheek comment.
There was a perception that Jones, while with the Wallabies, and Jake White, in his early years as Springbok coach, were the fiercest of rivals. Jones would ridicule White at press conferences, refer to him as ‘Spungebob’ and aim a barb at the ego of his counterpart and the Bok players.